More than three and a half years after the Irish government announced that it would introduce a Medical Cannabis Access Programme, not a single patient has been able to benefit from the initiative.
While suffering continues amongst thousands of Irish people who could benefit from access to medicinal cannabis, all they have been offered are excuses, delays and endless frustration. Ministers are impossible to communicate with or get any sensible answers from and their failure to honour their commitment is forcing many people to continue to access cannabis illegally, making themselves criminals, risking their freedom and future simply because they are trying to look after their health.
This is the background that has led to the formation of the Irish Medicinal Cannabis Council. Its mission is to be the focal point for information on medicinal cannabis in Ireland, aiming to represent the cause to government, the media, the medical profession and the general public.
The founder members of the council are: Tom Curran, Gino Kenny TD, Alicia Maher, Clare McAfee, Dr Garrett McGovern and Vera Twomey.
Further members will be recruited from science, medicine, politics and business as well as patients and their carers. The general public will be invited to register with the council as supporters.
- Activate the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) immediately. Ensure anyone currently prescribed under a Ministerial Licence continues to receive their medicine without interruption
- Ensure prescriptions for medicinal cannabis are funded in the same way as other medicines – without charge for those with a Medical Card or on the Long Term Illness Scheme
- Maintain the collection of prescribed medicinal cannabis from the Netherlands where it is not available locally
- Expand the conditions covered under MCAP, most urgently for chronic pain
- Expand the products available under MCAP, including raw flower for vaporising
- Establish regular, formal consultation with the Dept, of Health, Health Service Executive and Health Products Regulatory Authority
- Amend current legislation to permit trace amounts of THC in over-the-counter CBD products
- Set a deadline for the HPRA to establish a licensing system for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis and production of medicinal products
- Establish a training programme for doctors in the endocannabinoid system and prescribing of medicinal cannabis