The lower house of Ireland’s legislature is expected to pass a medical cannabis bill, which would regulate the sale, labeling, advertising and marketing of the plant and related products, according to an Irish Times report. The bill will be debated on Thursday, but reportedly already has the support of up to 90 of the 158 house members.
If passed, the measure would move to the health committee of the higher house, where it could be amended before moving to the floor for debate and a vote. Minister of Health Simon Harris is also expected to recommend changes to the law once he receives a report from the Health Products Regulatory Authority, which is expected by the end of January. Sinn Féin, an Irish Republican party who to support the bill, plans to request that the HRPA oversees the program rather than establishing new agencies.
Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy Catherine Byrne indicated support for a tightly regulated regime.
“I wouldn’t want people to think we are legalizing cannabis, which is something I’d be totally against,” she said in the report. “We don’t want to see cannabis available on prescription and then being dealt on the streets.”
The legislation was introduced by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny and has secured support from the Social Democrats, Green, Fianna Fáil, Anti-Austerity Alliance, Labour, Independents4Change parties, and independent lawmakers. Supporters have also proposed the creation of a Cannabis Research Institute which would publish cannabis-related research.
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