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Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use could boost medicinal cannabis

Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use could boost medicinal cannabis

The Cannabis Industry Council (CIC) has welcomed the establishment of a Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use in Ireland, and the appointment of former Health Service Executive CEO, Paul Reid, as its chair.

A CIC spokesperson said:

“The Cannabis Industry Council very much hopes this development will unlock the stalemate on drugs policy in Ireland. The current Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) is one of the most restrictive in Europe. MCAP has completely excluded thousands of Irish people who suffer from chronic pain, the indication for which the medicine is most often prescribed.

“Ireland is also in a really bad place in respect to hemp and CBD. The authorities have been seizing products and prosecuting people, in defiance of EU law. While the courts have handed down seemingly contradictory judgments.

“The sector had previously been booming, creating new businesses and jobs. It does though seem a strong possibility that the Citizens’ Assembly will recommend some form of liberalisation, which could revive the sector and provide a boost to Ireland’s economy.”

The appointment of Paul Reid as chair of the Citizens’ Assembly has been met with some concern as he is strongly associated with the existing ineffective system of drugs policy and treatment.

The CIC spokesperson continued:

“Ireland’s medical establishment has been very negative about medicinal cannabis, undermining MCAP, even though it is government policy. Mr Reid will know his way around the system so hopefully he will help to deliver the reform that is desperately needed.

“We will be holding Mr Reid to account to ensure an evidence-based approach, with harm reduction and economic growth at the core, is pursued.”

The Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs Use in Ireland was established by the Irish Government, following resolutions in Dáil and Seanad Éireann in late February.

It will consist of 100 members, including the independent chairperson and 99 members of the general public. The first meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly is scheduled to take place on 14 April.

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