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Ireland Legalizes Limited forms of Medical Cannabis

The Irish government has announced a pilot program that would provide patients who have certain treatment-resistant health issues with medical cannabis products.

The initiative - called the Medical Cannabis Access Programme - was announced earlier this week, after years of hard work and controversy. But people waiting for widely available medical and recreational cannabis in Ireland shouldn’t get too excited.

“This is not about the legalisation of cannabis. Cannabis is an illegal drug the side effects of which are dangerous and damning. The views of our medical community are prety clear in relation to that,” said Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris.

According to the government’s website for the Medical Cannabis Access Programme, medical cannabis products will be available only in situations where standard treatments have failed to treat "spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, [and] severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy."

The first drugs covered by the new law are expected to be available in fall of this year. No medical cannabis products are currently available in Ireland, but as the Programme’s website says:

this legislation now means that commercial operators whose cannabis products meet the specified requirements set out in the legislation will be able to supply these products to the Irish market.

If the program is a success, Harris says the government will consider growing its own supply of medical cannabis.

h/t Irish Times

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