The Department of Health has announced that it is to allow the direct distribution of medical cannabis to patients in Ireland.
The new measure will expand the limited reach of a 2019 initiative, which legalised the use of cannabis for medical reasons in Ireland. However, by requiring them to travel to the Netherlands to collect their medications, the effect of the legislation was that the drug remained inaccessible to many Irish patients.
It was the then-Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, who launched the Medical Cannabis Access Programme. The scheme was to operate “on a pilot basis” for five years. That plan had to be revised during the coronavirus pandemic, when travel curbs introduced to slow the spread of the novel virus, made it impossible for patients receiving treatment with medical cannabis to source they necessary supplies.
Covid-19 prompted a temporary solution, decided in April 2020, which involved the creation of a delivery service from the Netherlands to Ireland. That delivery system will now become permanent, the Department has confirmed.
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