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Medical cannabis – a step forward

While many people in Ireland struggle to secure affordable medicinal cannabis, Gino Kenny TD told The Liberty that the upcoming Medical Cannabis Access Programme falls short of what needs to be done. 

The Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAB) will help improve access to medicinal cannabis for families in need – allowing medical consultants to prescribe cannabis-based treatment for a patient. 

The legislation for the programme was signed back in June 2019 by former Minister for Health Simon Harris. It was to be phased in over five years, starting in the summer of 2021.  

“Legalise and regulate cannabis use because prohibition does not work.” 

GINO KENNY T.D.

People Before Profit T.D. Gino Kenny, a strong advocate for the legalisation and regulation of cannabis, labelled it a “limited and restricted programme” and would like to see a “much broader approach” to medicinal cannabis access.  

“The access programme is not ideal, but it is a step forward. At the minute, medicinal cannabis is very expensive. Although some families do get reimbursed, it’s not perfect by any means and many more people could benefit from it,” Kenny told The Liberty.  

When the access programme is up and running, many people who seek medicinal cannabis will be covered by the State under the Long-Term Illness (LTI) Scheme or through a medical card. 

“Additionally, if they’re under the programme they can be monitored by consultants in the field to see how they’re progressing,” Kenny said. 

“To say the government have been slow would be an understatement. It’s been four and a half years since the access programme was first flagged and it’s still not up and running yet,” said Kenny – who will also be putting forth a bill this year to legalise and regulate cannabis for recreational use.  

“What we want to do in the bill is to legalise and regulate cannabis use because prohibition does not work. Also stop the profiteering of the black market from cannabis sales in Ireland. 

“Cannabis will be used whether it’s legal or not. So, there’s obviously a big market for cannabis use. But it’s still a minority of people who use it, which is their right because they’re adults.

“Overuse of cannabis or any substance isn’t good,” Kenny said. He added that People Before Profit’s proposal would “fill a void [so that] the black market loses control of the substance to the State through this regulation – also reducing violence and crime that comes with black market sales.”

Gino Kenny- Image Source: People Before Profit.
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