A right-to-die campaigner has said he has full confidence that the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes will be legalised in Ireland.
Speaking at a public meeting about the use of medicinal cannabis in Cork, Tom Curran said consideration should be given to cultivating the drug in Ireland.
Mr Curran was the partner of campaigner Marie Fleming, who died in 2013. The multiples sclerosis sufferer had waged an unsuccessful legal battle for the right to end her own life.
Mr Curran said Marie often used cannabis to curb systems of her illness. He said high prices would be avoided if the drug was cultivated in Ireland.
“It would be safer, theoretically but not practically, to hand the implementation of it to some of the pharmaceutical companies,” said Mr Curran. “We see the situation that exists for people with cystic fibrosis this week. The costs are totally prohibitive.
“Cannabis is a natural product. There is no research that needs to be done as far as the processing of it. Maybe we should think about growing and processing it here for the Irish market because that would be so easy.”
In December 2012, Ms Fleming brought her fight to challenge the ban on assisted suicide to the High Court. She had wanted Mr Curran to be able to assist her death without prosecution.
She appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, but in April 2013 her legal battle came to an end when it upheld the legal ruling.
The Dáil passed the medicinal cannabis bill unopposed last week. The bill provides for the regulation of cannabis for medicinal use so that patients can receive a “legally protected, secure supply” of a quality controlled cannabis based medicine. The cannabis-based medicines would only be available from a pharmacy. The advertising and sale of cannabis to minors would be banned.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the bill intended to make cannabis available to those with chronic pain, epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and, under a doctor’s recommendation, would help to alleviate symptoms of illness.
He said research has shown cannabis can help a lot of people. Cannabis for medicinal purpose is legal in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, and some US state.
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