O’Brien pens letter to Minister for Health concerning medicinal cannabis

Dear Minister,

Can you clarify for me your position and that of the Government regarding the legalisation of medicinal cannabis?

I think that it is totally unacceptable that people who are suffering from serious health issues are being deprived of accessing cannabis oil to help treat their illness. I warmly welcomed the news that a Bill to legalise medicinal cannabis passed through the first stage in the Dáil towards the end of 2016, however, I was very disappointed to hear that the Oireachtas Health Committee have recently voted to reject the Bill.

I would appreciate if you clarified what the current situation is regarding the future of the Bill. If the Bill is not sound legally, I would ask that you and the Government bring forward an alternative Bill to deal with the issue. Many people who are suffering from serious illnesses have decided to travel abroad in order to legally access cannabis oil treatment. I am sure you will agree with me that this is a very sad situation.

People who are suffering now find themselves in a position where they feel they have no other choice but to leave their family and loved ones in search of this treatment. I know of one local man, Kenny Tynan, who has recently travelled to Spain in order to access treatment to help fight his brain cancer. He has had to leave his wife and four kids in order to access cannabis oil in a country where he won’t be treated as a criminal. Cancer is difficult enough without having to leave your wife and kids in order help your health situation.

I understand that you have the power to issue a licence for such treatment once you’ve received a request from a medical professional representing a patient. Can you clarify for me what medical professionals can request such a licence? I know of many people suffering from serious illness who have taken cannabis oil to great effect.

There is massive support right across the country for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis. I strongly urge you to introduce legislation to legalise medicinal cannabis, as in my view, it is the right decision.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks,

Cllr Michael O’Brien

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