Campaigners and patients hit out at slow roll-out of medical cannabis

Campaigners and patients hit out at slow roll-out of medical cannabis

Campaigners and patients have hit out at the slow roll-out of medical cannabis - meaning they must still buy the drug from the black market.

Calls have been made on the Government to provide a clear commencement date for the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP)

The programme was announced in June and it was thought it would take around eight to 10 weeks to roll-out, but no patient has yet received medication under the scheme.

People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny warned that many people are being forced to travel abroad or purchase the drug from the black market.

"People understood that after the law was changed in late June patients would start getting legal and medical access to medicinal cannabis products. The whole process has been extremely protracted," he said.

Brendan Gorman, whose son Ryan has epilepsy, said it is very frustrating that medicinal cannabis is now legal but still cannot be accessed.

"We have a Minister who's given us a car, but failed to give us a key to the car, that's putting it in simple terms, what good is it if you can't drive it?" he asked.

"So many people are in need of it, and it does work. It has been put to the test it in many, many countries."

Minister for Health Simon Harris signed legislation to provide medicinal cannabis to patients who have not responded to standard treatments.

Those suffering with multiple sclerosis (MS), nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and those with treatment-resistant epilepsy qualify to take part in the five-year pilot scheme.

But Mr Kenny claimed "bureaucracy" and " institutional resistance" are now stalling the full introduction of the programme.

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