A new survey has found that a vast majority of people in Ireland support marijuana use when a physician prescribes it.
Over 90 percent of the Irish population supports the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, according to a new survey by Rec C. The opinion poll, commissioned by non-profit health organization Help Not Harm, surveyed a total of 1,000 randomly selected adults by phone to conclude that a vast majority of Irish people favors cannabis use when recommended by a doctor.
“The people have compassion enough to provide necessary treatment for those who need it, it’s now up to legislators to follow their lead,” said Tom Curran, Deputy Director of Help Not Harm.
Ninety-two percent of Irish people reportedly support medical marijuana. Women showed 93 percent favorability, compared to 90 percent of men. Support was found to be highest in the Munster counties, at 94 percent.
The Deputy of Health responded to the survey, saying, “The Minister has committed to reviewing policy on medicinal cannabis. The Minister has asked the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) to provide expert advice on this issue.”
Under Ireland’s Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 to 2016, medical marijuana is subject to stringent controls. Cannabis products can be prescribed in limited circumstances provided the Minister for Health grants a license.
A Medical Cannabis Bill that would widen the legalization for medical marijuana bill is making legislative progress. Just last week, the Irish Government passed a comprehensive medical marijuana bill without even taking a vote, claiming it wouldn’t oppose the legislation. The bill, which will now pass on to the Committee Stage for examination, would legalize cannabis products for several conditions and symptoms, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and pain relief.
“People are using cannabis anyway,” Deputy Gino Kenny told News Talk in his argument for regulation. “They’re buying it on the street or growing itself. And everything is open to abuse. A person that’s prescribed any cannabis-based medicine, they’re the only sole user of it.”
The Irish Times reports that the medical cannabis bill is supported by a majority of the 158 Members of Dail Éireann (TDs), suggesting that medical marijuana could be legalized in Ireland as soon as Easter next year. People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny introduced the bill and several parties and independent TDs have agreed in principle to support it. However, some will likely seek some amendments to ensure that the passing of the bill doesn’t lead to decriminalization or adult use legalization.
“I have had a lot of calls on the issue with people making very good cases in favor of legalizing cannabis for medical use, and against,” said Ministry of State Catherine Byrne. “In my own position, as Minister of State, I would be concerned that there would have to be very tight controls on it.”
Paige Figi, mother to a young girl suffering from Dravet Syndrome, hopes laws will change. Her daughter has found relief with cannabis. Research has shown cannabis to be an effective treatment method for reducing the frequency and severity of seizures associated with epilepsy.
“The existing laws to keep this illegal… the only people that it’s helping is possibly a drugs company that wants to promote a drug,” Figi told News Talk. “The current laws help no one. Holding these laws back from being passed… it’s fatal for many people.”
If the Medical Cannabis Bill passes, it will also establish a cannabis regulatory authority, which would be responsible for regulating licensing and sales.
Learn more about the research revealing medical marijuana’s therapeutic potential by visiting our education page.