TD fears legalising medical cannabis ‘will open door’

Independent TD and doctor Michael Harty has been criticised for suggesting plans to legalise cannabis for medical use “will open the door” for the decriminalisation of recreational use.

Under plans agreed by the Government and opposition earlier this week, a bill put forward by AAA-PBP TD Gino Kenny for medical cannabis to be made legal is set to be passed into law.

The bill is supported by Sinn Féin, Labour, the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Independent Alliance, while Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are also supportive of aspects of it despite concerns about its wider ramifications.

As part of a deal between Health Minister Simon Harris and AAA-PBP, the bill will pass without a Dáil vote before issues surrounding wider cannabis decriminalisation and other matters are removed at committee stage.

However, during a Dáil debate on the issue last night, Clare TD and GP Dr Michael Harty said he will not be supporting the measure because “my main concern is it will open the door to the availability of cannabis for recreational use”.

The comment was criticised by Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Jonathan O Brien, who said the remark misses the point of helping people in medical need such as those with brain injuries, cancer and people living with multiple sclerosis.

Mr O Brien said it is “very disingenuous of anyone to suggest Gino Kenny is using this as a Trojan horse to legalise cannabis”, with Mr Harris also stressing that while there are issues with the bill medical cannabis use is completely different to recreational use.

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