Irish political alliance Solidarity – People Before Profit has announced plans to introduce a cannabis legalisation bill in 2021.
Solidarity – People Before Profit is an electoral alliance between Solidarity and People Before Profit. The alliance currently has five TDs in Ireland’s lower house (Dáil Éireann) and 11 councillors in local government.
People Before Profit has long campaigned for cannabis in Ireland, with TD Gino Kenny writing in a Twitter statement that the party is introducing a new bill that will end cannabis prohibition.
Kenny was first elected to the Dáil in 2016 and has since become one of Europe’s most outspoken pro-cannabis lawmakers. His work paved the way for Ireland’s current medical cannabis system, which allows patients with multiple sclerosis, treatment-resistant epilepsy, and nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy to access medical cannabis.
Under the system, patients or their families are required to fly to the Netherlands to collect their medical cannabis prescriptions. While access to medical cannabis remains difficult, the Irish Government arranged a temporary delivery service as a result of coronavirus pandemic.
Irish Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced last week that the delivery service will remain in place.
However, Kenny feels these measures are not meeting the needs of medical cannabis patients. In a September press release from the party, Kenny wrote that the programme has only resulted in 49 individual ministerial licenses, which allow patients to import cannabis.
To provide full legal access to medical cannabis, Kenny feels the government needs to implement the Medical Cannabis Access Programme. Legalising cannabis may also improve access pathways for medical cannabis patients.
In an interview with the High Times, Kenny argued cannabis legalisation is important for Ireland, writing:
If somebody wants to use cannabis, that’s their business. To keep driving it underground, it just compounds the issue, and essentially hasn’t worked.
If the bill is passed, Ireland will be the first country in Europe to legalise recreational cannabis.