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Suppliers express interest in medicinal cannabis programme

A number of suppliers of medicinal cannabis products have expressed an interest in supplying the Irish market, according to Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The Minister recently signed legislation which will allow for the operation of the medical cannabis access programme (MCAP) on a pilot basis for five years.

Commercial medical cannabis suppliers whose cannabis products meet the specified requirements set out in the legislation, and which have been listed in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs (Prescription and Control of Supply of Cannabis for Medical Use) Regulations, will be able to supply these products into Ireland.

“As yet, no medical cannabis products are available for use under the MCAP and it is expected that it will take some time for suppliers to put arrangements in place to have their products made available on the Irish market,” according to the Minister.

“I am pleased to say that there are a number of suppliers who have expressed an interest in supplying the Irish market; however, it is not possible to give a specific date on which these products will be available for patients.”

Pending full operation of the MCAP, and for medical indications not included in the MCAP, doctors may continue to utilise the ministerial licensing route to prescribe medical cannabis for their patients, should they wish to do so.

“In line with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice, the granting of a licence for cannabis for medical purposes must be premised on an appropriate application being submitted to the Department of Health, which is endorsed by a consultant who is responsible for the management of the patient and who is prepared to monitor the effects of the treatment over time,” the Minister stated. The Minister was responding to a parliamentary question by Sinn Féin Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

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