Gino Kenny of Solidarity – People Before Profit has declared that he’s going to bring legislation before Dáil to legalize cannabis in 2021. This is the first time in 8 years that a bill of this sort has been introduced to the Irish Government.
Kenny has been at the forefront of Irish cannabis activism for some time now. When he was first elected to the Dáil in 2016, he fought to ensure a number of patients had access to medical marijuana.
Such efforts led to the Irish Government creating their current five-year test run on medical cannabis in Ireland. Through this, patients struggling with spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) and intractable nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy can apply for a medical cannabis card.
Furthermore, this program gives those struggling with treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy access to medical cannabis.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, patients would travel to the Netherlands in order to pick up their prescriptions. However, due to the pandemic, the Irish Government shutdown this delivery system and the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has announced that this action will 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,” Donnelly said. “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.”
“I am so pleased that these problems will now be a thing of the past for them,” he added.
Still, there has been some pushback from Kenny. He’s criticized the Irish Government for not taking a closer look at its Medical Cannabis Access Programme and the financial costs it’s having on patients.
“I know of families that can’t get it because they can’t afford it,” he 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.”