Petition Closed

Petition the Irish Government to Legalise Cannabis for Medicinal & Scientific Use in 2017

819
Supporters

Who are we?

Fweedom is the National Campaign for the legal regulation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific use. Our mission is to persuade Simon Harris TD, Irish Minister for Health to broaden the scope of S.I. 323 Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Regulations 2014 which autorises cannabis based medicinal products to be legally proscribed by medical practitioners.

What we want?

We want the Irish Government to follow the lead taken by Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Uruguay, Macedonia, the Czech Republic and 24 states in the USA which enable patients to purchase dried cannabis flower buds on prescription from pharmacies and regulated dispensaries. We also ask that patients and their registered caregivers be given the right to grow cannabis plants within the privacy of their homes without fear of prosecution under the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977-2015. We further ask the Irish Government to introduce a new Regulation of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Bill in 2017

What is Cannabis and how long has it been used for medicine?

Cannabis is a naturally occurring plant that has been cultivated by humans for the last 12,000 years. Medicinal and ritual use of wild cannabis dates back a lot further.; Paleoanthropologist believe that cannabis use has developed in tandem with hominid evolution which is well in excess of 1,000,000 years.

Cannabis belongs to a genus of flowering plants which includes three recognised species: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis lndica and Cannabis Ruderalis all of which are indigenous to Eurasia and south Asia respectively. There are approximately 470 known chemical constituents in the average cannabis plant which include compounds that have both medicinal as well as psychoactive use. Cannabinoids are unique chemical structures that can only be found in the cannabis plant. The main psychoactive constituent of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, however it is not the only important cannabinoid found in the plant, which also includes cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBL) respectively, Cannabinoids have many distinct pharmacologic properties. These include analgesic, antiemetic, antioxidative, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory activity, as well as modulation of glial cells and tumor growth regulation.


What are the medical benefits of Cannabis?

Every human possesses an endocannabinoid system which is perhaps the most important physiological system involved in establishing and maintaining human health. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the human body; in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the endocannabinoid system performs different functions, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of stable environment despite fluctuations in the external environment. Put simply, humans have been using cannabis for so long, we have evolved the endocannabinoid receptor system which is essential to our physiological wellbeing.

International scientific research has formally recognised the medicinal value of cannabis in the treatment of illnesses such as Cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Dravet’s syndrome, Glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Anorexia and Fibromyalgia. The positive use of medicinal cannabis in palliative care has contributed significantly to the debate in favour of legal regulation and the end of global prohibition of cannabis. Global prohibition was introduced controversially in 1925 for largely moral reasons and contrary to international scientific and medical evidence which argued in favour of retaining legalisation.


What you can do?

Legal regulation of medicinal cannabis is a legitimate public health right especially for those who are suffering from debilitating illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis. We ask you to sign the petition and ask the Irish Government to introduce and support a new Regulation of Cannabis for Medical and Scientific Use Bill to allow patients the right to purchase dried cannabis buds from pharmacies and dispensaries at an affordable price and / or to be able to grow their own without fear of prosecution under Sections 3 and 17 of the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977-2015.

International Legal Requirements

The Irish Government has the power to legalise and regulate cannabis for medical and scientific purposes within the scope of our International obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 as amended by the 1972 protocol. The Preamble of the convention provides that "the medical use of narcotic drugs continues to be indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering and that adequate provision must be made to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs for such purposes". Articles 1, 2, 4, 9, 12, 19, and 49 contain provisions relating to "medical and scientific" use of controlled substances. In almost all cases, parties are permitted to allow dispensation and use of controlled substances under a prescription, subject to record-keeping requirements and other restrictions.

We are asking the Irish government to examine the Canadian ‘Marihuana for Medical Purpose Regulations SOR/2013-119’ which came into force on the 1st October 2015 as the template for best international practice in the regulation of medicinal cannabis. Ireland like Canada is a common law country, both of whom are signatories to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 as amended by the 1972 protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and 1988 Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances. If the Canadian government has the foresight and intelligence to introduce fair rules governing medicinal cannabis, the Irish Government should take note.

We submit that on a comparative legal evaluation of the International laws governing the regulation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific use, the Irish government has no grounds for further delay. Therefore, we conclude that there are no legitimate (medical or scientific) grounds for not introducing a new Regulation of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Bill in 2017, nor are there any legitimate international legal restrictions as per the conventions cited above.

We submit that in the interest of public health, (and bearing in mind that citizens of Canada and its respective Government are no less health conscious than the citizens of Ireland) that the Irish Government immediately proceed with the drafting of a new Regulation of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Bill and that the respective Minister, Mr Simon Harris TD present it to the Oireachtas in 2017.

We further ask the Irish Government to bear in mind that in 2017, Canada will introduce a new bill to legalise cannabis for personal use, joining Uruguay which legalised cannabis for medicinal and recreational use in 2013. We further ask the Irish Government to consider the fact that Germany, a fellow member of the European Union will introduce new rules in 2017 governing medicinal cannabis enabling patients to purchase dried cannabis flower buds on prescription from pharmacies.

We submit that provision be made in the proposed Regulation of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Bill 2017, to allow Irish patients be given the right to purchase dried cannabis flower buds on prescription from pharmacies and regulated dispensaries.

We further submit that Irish patients and their registered caregivers be given the right to grow cannabis plants within the privacy of their homes without fear of prosecution under the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977-2015.

The Law in Ireland

Cannabis was first made unlawful in Ireland in 1934, without any scientific or medical evaluation. The 1934 act was repealed with the introduction of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, which was largely copied from the equivalent UK provision introduced in 1971. The Irish Government’s approach to cannabis prohibition has largely been dictated by International conventions.

Successive Irish Governments have consistently failed to critically evaluating the scientific and medical evidence in support of legalisation of cannabis for both medicinal and personal use. Ireland is a prohibitionist country by default; and within that context the Irish Government has not developed policies governing cannabis which are in line with international scientific and medical evidence.

Consequently, the Irish public opinion has largely been shaped by the War on Drugs and the damage which it has caused to scientific and medical innovation globally. Irish public awareness of the medicinal and scientific benefits of cannabis has been held back by ill-informed government policy shaped by global prohibition largely driven by moral righteousness and propaganda which ignored detailed scientific and medical evidence which was against prohibition of cannabis. 

Regulatory environment

S.I. 323 the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Regulations 2014, was introduced to amend the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1988. The Regulations of 1988 apply controls to the groups of drugs specified in Schedules 1 to 5 of the Regulations (being drugs to which the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and 1984 apply), the effect of which is to impose restrictions on the production, supply, importation and exportation of the drugs in question, which vary according to the extent to which these drugs are used for medical or scientific purposes and having regard to the likelihood of their being abused.

These Regulations amend the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1988— (a) to insert into Schedule 2 authorised medicinal products containing a liquid extract of cannabis having a specified composition and presentation, in order to permit such products to be prescribed, supplied and possessed for the treatment of patients, and (b) to remove the handwriting requirements in relation to certain details on prescriptions for controlled drugs specified in the Schedule to the Misuse of Drugs (Supervision of Prescription and Supply of Methadone) Regulations 1998 (S.I. No. 225 of 1998).

Section 4 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977-2015 provides that the Minister may make regulations enabling any person, or persons of a prescribed class or description, in prescribed circumstances or for prescribed purposes, to possess a controlled drug subject to such conditions (if any), or subject to and in accordance with such licence, as may be prescribed.

(2) Subject to section 13 of this Act, the Minister shall exercise his power to make regulations under this section so as to secure that it is not unlawful under this Act for a practitioner or pharmacist to have a controlled drug in his possession for the purpose of his profession or business.

Section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 -2015 deals with restriction on possession of controlled drugs
Subject to subsection (3) of this section and section 4 (3) of this Act, a person shall not have a controlled drug in his possession.
A person who has a controlled drug in his possession in contravention of subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence.

The Minister may by order declare that subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to a controlled drug specified in the order, and for so long as an order under this subsection is in force the prohibition contained in the said subsection (1) shall not apply to a drug which is a controlled drug specified in the order.
The Minister may by order amend or revoke an order under this section (including an order made under this subsection).

Section 17 of the Act prohibits cultivation in so far that a person shall not cultivate any plant of the genus Cannabis or except under and in accordance with a licence issued under Section 14 from the Minister. In respect of Section 14, regulation 5 of the Misuse of Drugs (Scheduled Substances) Regulations 1993 (SI No. 339 of 1993) provides that a person so authorised by a license granted by the Minister may, under and in compliance with any conditions attached thereto, produce, supply, offer to supply, import, export or have in his possession any scheduled substance to which the license relates. Under Section 21 (6) Any person who contravenes a condition attached to a licence, permit or authorisation granted or issued by the Minister under this Act (other than section 24) or under regulations made under this Act shall be guilty of an offence. 

Fweedom - The National Campaign for the legalisation of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use.

 

 

This petition was delivered to:
  • Simon Harris TD
  • Irish Government
  • Simon Coveney TD
  • Frances Fitzgerald TD
  • Charlie Flanagan TD
  • Minister for Health
  • Shane Ross TD
  • Richard Bruton TD
  • Leo Varadker TD
  • Pascal Donoghue TD
  • Michael Creed TD
  • Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD
  • Finian McGrath TD
  • Enda Kenny TD

Fweedom started this petition with a single signature, and now has 819 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.