Is Weed Legal in Ireland? Even though there is a medical cannabis programme in place, Ireland is still far behind many other European countries when it comes to legalising cannabis.
Cannabis cultivation and custody both carry the potential for legal consequences in Ireland, including monetary fines and even jail time. Nevertheless, the sale of CBD is not prohibited by Irish law.
However, despite the fact that Ireland lags significantly behind countries such as Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands, there may be grounds for cautious optimism. According to the results of a survey conducted in May 2021, almost forty per cent of Irish citizens are in favour of making cannabis available for recreational use, while more than ninety per cent are in favour of making medical marijuana available. Only 4% of people polled expressed their opposition to the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Is weed legal in Ireland?
A person who is found to be in possession of cannabis or cannabis resin in Ireland may be punishable with a fine of up to £300 if it is their first offence on summary conviction, or a fine of up to £500 if they are found guilty after an investigation under the Misuse of Drugs Act, which was passed in 1984. The amounts of £400 and £1,000 are the fines that are imposed for a second offence.
If you are found guilty of the third offence, you face the possibility of a fine of up to one thousand pounds or a prison sentence of up to three years, whichever is greater.
It is also against the law to cultivate cannabis, which can result in a fine or a jail term of up to 12 months for a summary conviction, and up to 14 years for an indictment conviction.
What are Irish people’s opinions regarding Marijuana?
When it comes to cannabis, it would appear that Ireland adheres to more traditionalist world views, at least on the administrative level.
Cannabis is “the gravest threat to the mental health of young people in Ireland today,” according to a warning issued by the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland in May of 2021. This was largely due to the higher potency of cannabis available today, as well as the fact that the public appears to believe it is harmless, in the words of the psychiatrists.
The conservative approach can also be seen in the country’s medical cannabis programme, which is one of the more stringent programmes in Europe and ranks among the most restrictive in the world.
However, there are other reasons to be optimistic. The Green Party issued a statement in April 2018 advocating for the opening of “coffee shops” in the style of Amsterdam, as well as the decriminalisation of the possession of up to 5 grams of cannabis for individual use, and the cultivation of up to 2 plants per private residence.
Additionally, a survey conducted in 2016 with 507 Irish students between the ages of 15 and 18 found that 39.4 per cent of respondents admitted to having used cannabis in the past, but only 18.2 per cent support legalisation.
Does Ireland support the Medical uses of Cannabis?
The pilot programme for the use of cannabis for medical purposes is scheduled to begin in 2021 and will continue for a total of five years after it was legalised by Ireland’s Minister for Health in 2019.
Only these four products derived from cannabis are listed by the government as being acceptable for use in the Medical Cannabis Program:
- Aurora High CBD oil drops
- CannEpil (0.5 percent THC, 10 percent CBD)
- Tilray Oral Solution (1% THC and 1% CBD)
- Aurora Sedamen Softgels (5mg THC per capsule)
Sativex, a medication derived from cannabis that is typically used to treat the spasticity problems and discomfort associated with MS, has also been given the green light for use in Ireland. In addition to Sativex, the medicine Epidylolex, which is derived from cannabis, has been granted approval for the treatment of certain conditions, such as severe forms of paediatric epilepsy, and is available via prescription from a doctor.
The medical cannabis programme in Ireland has come under fire for a number of reasons, the most significant of which are the limited range of products, which does not include cannabis flower or any high-THC formulations, and the fact that chronic pain is not among the recognised medical conditions that can qualify for treatment with cannabis.
How to obtain Cannabis for medical uses in Ireland
According to the Medical Cannabis Access Programme, which the Irish government runs, a medical consultant is permitted, under certain circumstances, to recommend a cannabis-based treatment to a patient who suffers from one of the following conditions and who has not responded favourably to other treatments:
- Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis
- Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy
- Severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy
In Ireland, a medical consultant may write a prescription for medical cannabis for a period of up to six months.
The approval of a minister is yet another way to get your hands on cannabis for medical purposes. With the written authorization of the Minister of Health, a patient can obtain access to any medical cannabis product for the treatment of any medical condition. According to the information provided by Prohibition Partners, there are only 63 patients in Ireland who have access to medicine in this manner.
Products derived from cannabis for medical use are eligible for reimbursement from the Health Services Executive of Ireland; however, enrollment in the MCAP does not automatically guarantee that reimbursement will be received. In its place, the Ministry of Health has announced that reimbursement will be determined on an individual patient-by-patient basis and in accordance with the patient’s eligibility under the following conditions:
- The treatment is started by the consultant.
- Each patient is required to obtain online approval for their reimbursement.
- The patient has tried every possible treatment that is considered acceptable in medical practice.
- Medical cannabis products are supplied by Irish pharmacies to newly diagnosed patients so they can begin treatment.
Before the recent decision to allow reimbursement of medical cannabis, some patients would pay thousands of Euros each month for their treatment. Now, however, patients will only have to pay a fraction of that amount.
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