Ireland looks set to be the next country to legalise the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
In the Irish Parliament last night, the vote on the legalisation of medical cannabis saw cross party support, as the first phase of the bill was passed.
Initially opposed to the Bill, Health Minister Simon Harris said, “I believe there is a strength of feeling among the general public that the use of cannabis-based products should be allowed for the alleviation of symptoms associated with certain conditions and I acknowledge the numerous representations from members of the public and from public representatives to my department reflecting this.”
Harris has already initiated a review by the Irish Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), whose recommendations will be incorporated into the Bill at the committee stage.
A key factor in Harris’ shift in position has been his continued contact with Cork mother, Vera Twomey-Barry, whose daughter Ava has the rare genetic condition, Dravet Syndrome.
After being told by her doctors there was nothing more they could do for Ava who was having up to 20 seizures a day, Vera began giving her 6-year-old daughter CBD oil, the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Just a month into treatment Ava’s seizures have reduced by 90%, and her mother Vera has been publicly lobbying for a change in regulation, so that her daughter and others like her, can be prescribed CBD by doctors in Ireland.
Speaking from Dublin, Vera is ecstatic at the news.
“This will give us the best Christmas of our lives,” she says, “filled with hope for the future of our daughter, our family and for many other new friends we have made who need this treatment too.”