There have been several very important developments on the Irish medical cannabis front over the past few weeks, which have led many to believe that Ireland could be set to legalize medicinal marijuana within two years.
The first significant development happened on September 10, when Ireland’s Minister for Health, Mary Harney, said she would be “open” to legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. Harney said she would get expert opinions on the matter, with a view to making a decision on the issue by the end of the year, reports Daniel O’Carroll at Irish Central.
This in itself represents huge progress from the old days, when government authorities said they would not consider the idea of legalizing cannabis for any purpose.
That hopeful note was followed shortly after by a meeting between Gordon McArdle, one of Ireland’s most prominent cannabis advocates, and Minister Pat Carey, the man in charge of the country’s drug policies.
By the end of their face-to-face, McArdle said he was “pleased” by how “open” the Minister was to the idea of introducing medical cannabis to treat a number of health problems. This furthers the notion that there’s been a government-wide softening of attitudes on the traditionally dismissive attitude towards medical marijuana.
The biggest sign of all, though, is the drafting and submission of the Compassionate Use of Marijuana Act 2010, drafted by McArdle himself, which has been received by the government and attracted considerable media attention on the Emerald Isle.
The Act is based loosely on similar laws in the United States, and if passed, would pave the way for treating cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases with cannabis. Importantly, it would for the first time ever allow cannabis to be used in a medical and legal context in Ireland.
“[A]lthough deadlines don’t seem to have been set yet, the fact that the necessary legislation is already in draft, while at the same time the government solicits opinions from experts in the field, together point to a shorter rather than longer timeline for all this to work out,” said O’Carroll.