The ongoing saga for the proper implementation of medicinal cannabis continued on Thursday last with a public meeting in the Radisson Blu Hotel.
An event, coordinated by the local branch members of People Before Profit, saw a room brimming with support, some interested to find out more and many others who are impacted by medical conditions baying for help in the getting the medication that they want.
This has been an ongoing political issue for the last two years. It began when Gino Kenny TD put forth the Medicinal Cannabis Bill, this was met with resistance by Government for a range of reasons and this resistance has been challenged constantly ever since.
Stories such as that of Vera Twomey’s daughter, Ava, as well as Athlone native, Kenny Tynan, have become deeply hot topics and both have borne a movement behind them that are pleading for adequate access to such medications.
Chaired by Rory O’Connor, the meeting comprised four speakers, all of whom spoke with vigour and passion about the subject that had brought them all together. Local man, Kenny Tynan spoke of how he had arrived at this point, his frustrations and disappointments with the health service, and how the use of this “illegal substance” had greatly improved his life since being diagnosed with brain cancer.
Prominent Longford activist, Hazel Robinson told the audience of her own plight with her daughter’s cystic fibrosis and the difference the medication has made to her quality of life. Another long-time activist that spoke was Tom Curran. Tom has been a strong proponent of medicinal cannabis for many years as he has seen first-hand, the impact that such medication on multiple sclerosis patients, namely his wife.
Gino Kelly, TD, went on to speak about how the Bill has been progressing and what impediments have been blocking the passing of the Bill and what those who want to see it being legislated for, can do, “write to your TDs, write to your councillors, make this an election issue”.
Next came the opportunity for audience members to participate in the discussion. Many gave testimonials about how the medicine has given them back their lives. Those giving accounts were such people that have been living with cancer, fibromyalgia, MS and many other horrendous conditions that some of us could only barely imagine.
As the event drew to a close, it was abundantly clear that this room full of people were “saying YES to Medicinal Cannabis”, the movement is growing and both empathy and sympathy across the wider community is palpable. Maybe the passing of this legislation is only a matter of time, the future is unwritten but the will is most certainly there.