Irish Health Minister, Simon Harris, took the most conservative stance imaginable on medical marijuana in Ireland. This has sparked outrage at the way he interpreted the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRS) report on medical cannabis.
The Journal published an article by, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, independent Irish politician, currently serving as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Flanagan compares the stance taken by Harris to the “mean” God of the Old Testament.
He lashes out at Harris for implementing the harshest possible regulations and interpreting the report with a narrow-minded outlook. As a result, access to medical marijuana will be very expensive, cumbersome, and difficult to for those in need of the medicine.
Medical marijuana access at what cost?
One can understand Flanagan’s outrage. The issue of medical cannabis in Ireland has been in the spotlight for months now with mothers walking miles and going public to advocate for medical cannabis for their children in need. Yet, says Flanagan, the promises government made are empty. Certainly, people can obtain medical marijuana for those suffering from severe seizure disorders, but at what cost?
According to Flanagan, these moms will have to pay consultants to apply for access to medical cannabis. He compares the absolute power Harris has over the masses to the church selling indulgences.
Patients seeking medical marijuana in Ireland will have to pay very costly specialists to take a case to the HSE. Flanagan quotes the so-called “compassionate access program” with great sarcasm, saying it reeks of plenary indulgences.
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Not a significant milestone
Harris is calling the policy a “significant milestone” sparking Flanagan’s outrage. The policy covers very few conditions. For instance, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, or chronic pain sufferers received no compassion from the Irish government’s “significant progress.”
A statement in the report added fuel to Flanagan’s fire. It found that scientific evidence for the use of medical marijuana is lacking and even conflicting. He says there is more than enough evidence out there.
There are certainly thousands of people in Ireland using cannabis for pain on a regular basis. Instead of giving them access to affordable regulated, safe medicine, they will have to buy it on the “black market.”
Consequently, they won’t know if what they get is organic. It might contain pesticide residues. It might contain other toxins. As if that weren’t bad enough, the authorities will view them as criminals.
Medical marijuana in Ireland is about pacifying the public
While the rest of the world is decriminalizing cannabis and making it available as a medicine to patients in need of it, Ireland is pacifying the public with baby steps, calling them significant milestones, said Flanagan.
No doubt, Flanagan’s criticism reflects the frustrations of the many people who have been campaigning for access to medical marijuana in Ireland. They hoped that government would actually come up with a progressive policy on medical cannabis. Instead, conservatism has won the day.