Bill proposed to allow use of cannabis for medicinal purposes

Bríd Smith says regulation authority would be responsible for operational costs, not State

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith highlighted incidents where people affected by serious illnesses receive pain relief through the use of cannabis. Photograph: Getty Images

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith highlighted incidents where people affected by serious illnesses receive pain relief through the use of cannabis. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Legislation has been introduced in the Dáil to allow the use of cannabis and cannabis-related products for medicinal purposes, through the provision of a cannabis regulation authority.

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith highlighted incidents where people affected by serious illnesses receive pain relief through the use of cannabis.

The Dublin South-Central TD said that in cases of Dravet syndrome, a very serious form of epilepsy which generally manifests itself in children “cannabis oil can help a great deal to prevent fitting and seizures”.

Ms Smith said the second group that uses it quite frequently are those with multiple sclerosis. “I know from living in Ballyfermot that many MS sufferers already obtain cannabis oil to give them relief but mainly the use of cannabis alleviates the nausea, muscle spasms and pain that go with multiple sclerosis.”

Scientific evidence

She said “those two groups are quite significant groups of people with bad health in society and should be considered. There is anecdotal if not scientific evidence to show it provides pain relief to people who suffer from various forms of cancer.”

Ms Smith stressed that “we are trying to facilitate the use of cannabis and cannabis-related products for medicinal purposes but these would be ones that have already been experimented on and would clearly have to be prescribed by a medical practitioner or consultant”.

Under the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill, “we are proposing to establish a cannabis regulation authority which would bear the costs that may be incurred by the State as a result rather than the State bearing the cost”.

She said anyone who held a cannabis-related product or cannabis for distribution through prescription would have to be licensed to do so.

There would be restrictions on selling it, holding it and only people with prescriptions could obtain it, she stressed.

“There are further issues in the Bill on labelling, testing, advertising and having due regard for the needs to users of this product and to promote awareness and an understanding more broadly of cannabis and its effects.”

The legislation will be debated at private members’ time.