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First Legal Medical Cannabis Clinic Opens In Ireland

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Medical cannabis may be commonly found in various parts of the world now, however, in Ireland, medical cannabis policy modernization efforts have taken considerably longer to become a reality.

Back in June 2019, Ireland’s Minister for Health signed a measure that permitted the operation of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme on a pilot basis for five years. Similar to the medical cannabis program that is in operation in France, the policy change was initially only temporary and limited in scope.

In Ireland, there are only three recognized health conditions that qualify a suffering patient to be able to enroll in the Medical Cannabis Access Programme. Those conditions are:

  • Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis
  • Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy
  • Severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy

The nation’s medical cannabis program took a moderate step forward in 2021 when Ireland’s Health Minister announced that medical consultants could sign up themselves and their patients to the Medical Cannabis Access Programme through the nation’s Health Service Executive.

It was that latest change that led to the launch of Ireland’s first legal medical cannabis clinic. Per Irish Mirror:

Medicann CEO Gary Whipp, whose background is primarily in tech, has been studying cannabis for five years and is a qualified cannabis consultant. He told the Irish Mirror that Medicann first launched in “sunny” Jersey in 2019 and has since set up clinics in Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

Now, Medicann has opened its first Irish clinic recently and has been “inundated” since it began accepting patients who wish to know if they are eligible for treatment with medicinal cannabis.

While it is presumed that many suffering patients who contact the clinic ultimately do not qualify right now due to the limited number of qualifying conditions, Medicann’s CEO feels that there may be a path for increased patient access via a ministerial license.

“Each individual gets a ministerial licence, it lasts for 12 months, and that allows us to prescribe for that particular condition.” Gary Whipp stated according to Irish Mirror. “That’s the only real difference between the other jurisdictions and Ireland, is that the initiating of it needs to have a ministerial licence if it’s not one of the MCAP conditions.”