People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny, has called on the government to definitively state whether the proposed Medical Cannabis Access Programme will ever commence and if so, when. In an internal Dept. of Health briefing document to the new Minister for Health, the document states that because of budgetary constraints the programme will not commence this year.
Last year the law changed so that certain medical cannabis products could be prescribed and rescheduled under the guidelines for the access programme. In 2017 the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) commissioned a report – Medical Cannabis: A Scientific Review, recommending that a Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) be set up to commence a framework for the administration of medical cannabis products in Ireland.
Since 2016, 49 individual ministerial licences have been granted by the Minister to import medical cannabis products.
Speaking about the lack of progress, Deputy Kenny said: ” The failure to progress the MCAP over the past year is deeply frustrating for those families who are trying to find an avenue to access medical cannabis for their loved ones. The government needs to clarify what budgetary constraints are preventing the programme in proceeding and when, if ever, the programme will commence in the future. In speaking to parents who have contacted me in recent months, they feel that the system is an utter mess and is failing in the promise made by the last government to commence the MCAP.”