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Irish Healthcare Firm Launches Campaign to Change Medical Cannabis Law


Thursday March 26 2015 08:45 AM

Medical Cannabis remains illegal in Ireland despite government promises

An Irish healthcare company has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds to lobby the Irish government to change the laws on medical cannabis.

GreenLight Health, a medical cannabis research and development firm, based in Co. Dublin, will campaign to legalise medical cannabis in Ireland so it can produce cannabis medicines.

Currently, those who use cannabis to relieve medical conditions face criminalisation, a €2,750 fine and up to 12 months in prison for a second offense.

“The situation in Ireland at present is unacceptable,” says Dr James Linden, MD of GreenLight Health. “We know from speaking to people with MS, for example, that they are crying out for cannabis-based medicines to relieve their symptoms.

“We can produce a medicine, specifically tailored for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, yet the laws still state that the manufacture, production, preparation, sale, supply, distribution and possession of cannabis or cannabis-based medicinal products is unlawful, except for the purposes of research.”

In late 2012 the Department of Health said legislation would be brought forward early in 2013 to facilitate the sale of medical cannabis.

GreenLight Health says the legislation has still not been brought forward and wants to raise awareness of this issue. 

“There are over 8,000 MS patients in Ireland, many of whom already use cannabis to relieve their symptoms. However, what they are doing (currently) makes them criminals under Irish law," says Dr Linden. 

“We want to change the law in Ireland and build a proper research and development facility with the aim of producing cannabis medicines for export, and not just for MS patients but for cancer patients, epilepsy patients and patients with chronic pain,” says Linden. 

10 things you may not know about medical cannabis 

- An Irishman, Dr William Brooke O'Shaughnessy (1809-1899), was the first person to introduce cannabis to modern Western Medicine in 1839. 

- In 2015 Irish law still criminalises patients (with illnesses like MS) if they use cannabis to relieve their symptoms. The Irish government said it would bring forward “legislative proposals in mid-2013” to change the law. It didn’t do this. 

- It is estimated that 30 per cent of MS patients in Europe use herbal cannabis to ease the pain and disabling symptoms of the disease.

- GreenLight Health’s crowdfunding campaign is to highlight the need for a change to Irish law and also highlight the plight of MS patients in Ireland. 

- GreenLight Health also aims to research and develop more affordable cannabis medicines.

- Medical cannabis is currently legal in many EU countries including: Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Austria.

- Medical cannabis is currently legal in 23 states in the United States of America. 

- MS patients in Ireland have spoken freely about their need for cannabis medicines and their strong desire for a change to Irish Law

- There are 22 countries in the world, which have approved the use of the medical cannabis oral spray Sativex, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals. Ireland is one of them. Ironically, it still can’t be legally bought or sold in Ireland. 

- The HPRA (previously the IMB) approved the licence application and is in favour of allowing the sale of Sativex in Ireland to MS patients. However, the Irish government has still not changed the law to allow MS patients to use Sativex.  

Further reading

Author: Greenlight Health

Tags: medicalcannabis, ireland, government, law, ms, multiplesclerosis



Thursday March 26 2015 13:15

It is astonishing that a government would sanction the use of a drug for patients without making it possible for those patients to purchase it without being criminally liable.


Thursday March 26 2015 15:16

If Sativex were available how much will it cost? Will it be another Fampyra and price everyone out? If sativa came with a high pricetag then people will still source their cannabis locally and illegally.


Saturday March 28 2015 10:23

I reiterate my previous comment regarding law.
"If the members of the Government were to step into the shoes of a person with MS for one day I am sure the law would be changed !!


Saturday March 28 2015 14:56

I suffer from MS and I think a medical drug like this should be passed by the government immediately... its used to help people like me and others who suffer in pain. What can we do to lobby our politicians.


Tuesday March 31 2015 20:07

I suffer with MS and i feel that the government should pass this with immediate effect. MS suffers need this type of intervention for those of us that suffer in pain,


Friday April 17 2015 11:52

Only in ireland its legal to own but ilegal to purchace or perscribe sativex how ironic.

Mary Jane's Patch

Sunday August 02 2015 00:00

great article

Carina Mok

Saturday September 26 2015 13:53

I don't suffer from MS but from a complex cervical Dystonia and share many symptoms with th MS suffers. My muscles goes into spasm and moves involunatry and stays in akward and painful postures. In my particular case my eyes close involuntary and I am functionally blind a lot of the time, My jaw muscles goes into severe spasm which makes it difficult to chew , talk and I have bitten of teeth by the force of the spasming muscles, my neck muscles goes into severe spasm and my vocal chords does the same. My diaphragm is also affected hence my breathing ins severely affected. With all my adverse symptoms my sleeping is also very bad. Dystonia is the third most common movemen disorder and still no one has heard of it and we are never included in anything that could be helpful. I know many overseas who use both legal medical marijuana and Savitex (where it is available) and get great relief. I find it very frustrating that a group of at least 3000 in Ireland and we are probalbly many more as we areseverly missdiagnosed and underdiagnosed. It took me 2 1/2 years and fourteen doctors before I had my diagnosis that I worked out myself confirmed. My life is totally consumed by this very challenging condition and it is beyond frustration to know it is possible help out there and we are not even menationed as possible candidates for this treatment that would help. The cost of Savitex in my case would not be any more than my current treatment which merly takes the edge of it. I know get Botox injections by three specialist each four times a year = 12 treatments at a high specialist treatment cost plus at least two neuroligst consultations a year. Dystonia is a high cost condition to treat and the result today is hardly satisfactorily. Just saying for awareness.

Jason o shea

Friday November 11 2016 16:22

I suffer from aggressive progressive MS and Epilepsy which together is known medically as the marriage made in hell for a good reason, I would love to see someone from the government spend a day in my shoes with out having some weed to kill a bit of pain since I can't take painkillers because of the medication I'm on because it could kill me and I'm in a lot of pain.


Monday April 17 2017 14:03

An article in today's Examiner about a mother's struggle to "get permission" from authority to treat her severely ill daughter with medical cannabis to help to prevent her daughter's epileptic seizures, any one of which could be fatal had, right next to it, an article about the seizure of €250,000 worth of cannabis.

The procedure with seized cannabis, I believe, is complete destruction by burning, or 'other means'.

It all begs the question; are all our politicians callous beyond belief?

I mean, it's well known by now that cannabis is the safest therapeutic substance known to medical science and we are confronted almost daily by OTOH, instances of the most urgent medical necessity where the help needed is being refused outright and on the other by reports of the life-saving medicine she requires being seized for destruction by our government.

I cannot, for the life of me, recall having ever heard of any absurdity that would match this kind of stuff!

And, this may *seem* hardline, but I'll say it anyway;─ the people perpetuating drug prohibitions have the blood of innocent children on their hands!!!

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