|Graphic: Help End Marijuana Prohibition|
Ireland’s Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has said she is open to legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Harney has sought legal advice on the effectiveness of marijuana for the treatment of such conditions as multiple sclerosis and certain forms of cancer, reports Ronan McGreevy at the Irish Times.
The Department of Health and Children, in a statement, said it would contact relevant experts in the field with a view to making a recommendation to the Minister by the end of the year.
Harney said in a parliamentary question last year that she did not propose a change in the law that would allow cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes.
The department stressed there was “no question” of the Minister completely legalizing cannabis itself.
Medicinal cannabis campaigner Gordon McArdle met with Minister for Community Affairs Pat Carey on Thursday evening to discuss the issue.
|Photo: Irish Medical Times|
|Irish Health Minister Mary Harney: “Open” to medicinal cannabis|
Carey has overall responsibility for the Irish government’s drug strategy, but a spokeswoman for the Minister said he was meeting with McArdle “because he was a constituent.”
McArdle said he was “pleasantly surprised” at how open Ministers were to the idea of changing the law regarding medical marijuana. He maintains that the legalization of medicinal cannabis would bring Ireland into line with the U.K., Canada, Italy, Spain, Israel and 14 U.S. states.
He said there ought to be a European Union-wide approach to the problem, and a common strategy, and said he was not advocating the legalization of cannabis in general, as that was a separate issue.