Medicinal cannabis campaigner devastated by doctors’ comments

Letter in The Irish Times claims decriminalistion campaigns are Trojan horses

Medicinal cannabis campaigner Vera Twomey has said that she was "devastated" to read the comments of doctors in Monday's Irish Times who criticised "the one sided debate on cannabis".

Ireland is "sleepwalking" into the legalisation of cannabis on the back of a campaign of misinformation about the drug, claim doctors who have set up a new group to campaign against liberalisation.

They said they are treating ever-growing numbers of patients suffering a range of side effects caused by the drug.

Ms Twomey is calling for a balanced approach to the issue. She said she had to fight for two years to get medicinal cannabis for her daughter Ava Barry who has severe epilepsy.

“She’s at school today, she’s thriving, she hasn’t been admitted to hospital in two years. Now she’s having a life free of pain.”

It was very “very distressing” to see doctors “coming out and talking about Trojan horses”, she told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke.

“Decriminalisation and ‘medicinal cannabis’ campaigns have proved to be effective Trojan horse strategies on the road to full legalisation and commercialisation elsewhere,” the doctors say in a letter published in The Irish Times today.

People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, who drafted the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Bill, described the letter from the doctors as "extraordinary" and said that some of the language used was "an insult for people campaigning for access to medicinal cannabis".

In The Irish Times on Monday Dr Ray Walley, a GP in Dublin's north inner city, said: "I'm concerned about the dishonest debate out there. Society, politics, the medical fraternity, too – we're sleepwalking into this. The only place you read about cannabis now is in the business sections."

However, Mr Kenny said that his Bill is not about reckless use, "this is about medical access. Some of this stuff (in the letter) is highly charged."

He said he agreed with concern expressed about corporations getting involved in the production and sale of medicinal cannabis. “This is something that should be out of the hands of corporations and in a State company.

“Prohibition has failed. Let’s control and regulate and take it out of the hands of unscrupulous dealers.

“It is nonsense that it is a gateway drug.”