Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Harris now says making cannabis widely available in 2019 is a “major priority”.
Ireland’s government is once again teasing the prospect of loosening cannabis laws, but critics remain unconvinced the latest statements are anything more than hot air.
Simon Harris, health minister, said this week he believes 2019 will be a breakthrough year for medicinal cannabis in Ireland, with new laws and a support network in place to allow domestic farmers to grow the plant.
However it is two years since Harris first announced that a medicinal cannabis access programme would be launched, and nothing has materialised in that time.
The government has blamed an inability to find an approved supplier able to export to Ireland, despite carrying out a series of trips to other European Union states to research distribution.
Irish representatives recently visited Denmark to sit with several government regulatory bodies and other stakeholders in the medical cannabis production and supply chain.
“The aim of these meetings was to hear about the Danish cannabis access programme and enquire if a supply of medical cannabis products could be sourced. Good progress was made on both fronts, but a continuous supply of product may still be problematical to find in the short term,” said Ireland’s health ministry in a statement.
Harris said that his department is working to ease the difficulties in accessing cannabis product and learning from the experience of other countries that have faced similar problems.
He said “huge progress” was being made in rolling out the scheme, but like other countries going through the medicinal marijuana legalisation process, there are roadblocks to quality supply.