Ireland Eases Medical Marijuana For MS Restrictions; Canada Cracks Down; US States Legalize; Researchers Debate
The Republic of Ireland is legalizing the medical prescription of cannabis for people with Multiple Sclerosis, under a new revision to current Irish laws.
The Irish Mirror reports that Pat O’Mahony, CEO of Ireland’s Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) confirmed July 7 that the Department of Health is drafting legislation to allow medicinal cannabis to be made available for patients.
Mr. Mahoney is cited noting that the reform has been in the proposal stage for about four years, and describing its passage as a “very important step forward.” He further explains that while his department finished its assessment some time ago, there was an appeal to the High Court which was resolved very recently, and his understanding is that policy makers in the Department of Health are poised to issue a revision to existing legislation that will make the product available in the marketplace. He also confirmed that cannabis would be available by prescription and that physicians will be able to write prescriptions for pharmacists to fill, as with any other prescription pharmaceutical product.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Conservative government continues to throw up hurdles to use of medical marijuana, which has been legal on a highly regulated basis since 2000, when the first of a series of court decisions invalidated prohibition of marijuana, based on insufficiency of exemptions provided for legitimate medical users of the drug. The 2000 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling in R. v. Parker was a landmark decision that first invalidated Canada’s marijuana prohibition, finding it unconstitutional because it contained no exemption for medical use. There are currently about 40,000 licensed users nationwide.