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‘Betrayal’ of Patients as Ireland Medical Marijuana Bill Stalls

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The Republic of Ireland’s long-promised medical marijuana law is being held up in the country’s parliament, the Dáil—leading patients who have been waiting for legal herbal treatment in their own country to charge “betrayal.”

That was the exact word used by Irish mom Vera Twomey, speaking from the Netherlands, where she was seeking cannabis care for her daughter Ava, 9, an epilepsy sufferer.

“What issue is more important than people all over the country in chronic pain?” she rhetorically asked Ireland’s national broadcaster RTÉ, according to the Irish Times.

Twomey added that Health Minister Simon Harris and his conservative allies in the Dáil “should be hanging their heads in shame at what they’ve done with this bill.” 

In April, a THC medication she had purchased for her daughter in Barcelona was seized by authorities as she landed at Dublin’s airport, leading Twomey to publicly protest that she was “forced out of the country” to seek treatment for Ava.

Gino Kenny of the leftist Solidarity-People Before Profit Alliance sponsored the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill and is now calling it “urgent” that his fellow lawmakers allow it to move forward. .

The bill actually passed the Dáil in December. But under Ireland’s system, it must now be approved by the Health Committee before it returns to the floor for a final vote and becomes law.

And the committee is dominated by lawmakers from the conservative Fine Gael—who issued a report making the usual claims about a supposed dearth of research on the medical applications of cannabis and expressing concern that herb officially slated for medicinal use would be used recreationally.

Health Minister Harris himself earlier this year said he was prepared to establish a regulatory authority for medical marijuana. But Kenny sees bad faith on the part of the government, controlled by a Fine Gael-led coalition. 

“It is now imperative that the committee gets sight of the legal advice to progress it,” Kenny said of his bill to the Irish Times back in June, when the Dáil was about to break for the summer. “It hasn’t moved since December. It’s becoming clear that it’s being dragged out to the point where the government is effectively closing it down.”

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