An Irish political party has announced that it will bring legislation before the Government next year that, if passed, would end the prohibition of cannabis in Ireland.
Gino Kenny of Solidarity - People Before Profit announced on Twitter on Monday, December 14, that the party would bring the legislation before the Dáil in 2021, the first time in eight years that a bill to legalize cannabis will go before the Irish Government.
"Next year People Before Profit will bring forward legislation to end the prohibition of cannabis in Ireland. This will be the first time in eight years that a bill to legalise cannabis will be before the Dáil. Looking forward to the debate ahead in 2021," Kenny wrote on Twitter.
Next year People Before Profit will bring forward legislation to end the prohibition of cannabis in Ireland. This will be the first time in eight years that a bill to legalise cannabis will be before the Dáil. Looking forward to the debate ahead in 2021.— Gino Kenny TD (@Ginosocialist) December 14, 2020
Kenny has been a long-term advocate for cannabis, fighting on behalf of several patients to ensure that they have access to medicinal cannibas ever since he was first elected to the Dáil in 2016.
His advocacy put pressure on the Irish Government to implement the current five-year test run on medicinal cannibas in Ireland, whereby patients with spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy can apply to use medicinal cannivas.
The trial program also allows patients with severe treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy to apply for medicinal cannibas.
The program required patients or their family members to travel to the Netherlands to collect their prescriptions prior to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the Irish Government set up a temporary delivery service from the Netherlands to Ireland to assist patients during the pandemic and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced on Monday that the measure would be made permanent.
"Many patients and their families have shared stories with both me and officials in my department about how this initiative has made a huge improvement to their lives. They spoke about the stress of having to travel regularly and the associated health risks with that, as well as their concerns that they would run out of their medication," Donnelly said.
"I am so pleased that these problems will now be a thing of the past for them."
However, Gino Kenny criticized the Irish Government for not implementing its Medical Cannibas Access Programme which would cover the extensive costs of prescriptions for medicinal cannibas users.
"I know of families that can’t get it because they can’t afford it," Kenny told the Irish Examiner. "Their children are suffering, usually from epilepsy, so they have gone to the black market in desperation, which is not good.
"I know of one family in Cork who are fundraising to pay for their child’s medicine. The way to resolve this is for the Medical Cannabis Access Programme to be implemented and for Government to take action on this."