More than 1000 people march for cannabis reform in Ireland

A crowd of protesters took to the streets of Dublin this weekend

Irish citizens are calling on the government to reform the country's cannabis laws. While the stigma is still very strong, official tolerance of public protests in favor of weed is a promising sign, activists say.

major smoke up

The second edition of Major Smoke Up, organized by the Irish militant group Major Groupe For Cannabis Reform (MGCR) drew more than 1 people on Saturday in the capital. This is almost double the number of supporters compared to last year when the event had gathered some 100 participants.

ireland legal

Protesters arrived with signs, bongs and pipes, demanding the full use of cannabis for recreational and medical purposes, as well as greater accessibility to the plant.

The stated objectives of the MGCR are to reduce the stigma of cannabis in Ireland, to liberalize the current cannabis policy and to increase access to the plant in a user-managed market.

“As such, we have unfortunate situations where, for example, parents who have obtained a medical license to obtain cannabis for their child, have had to travel to the Netherlands in order to fill the prescription,” explains- he does. "This is obviously unacceptable and unsustainable."

Due to the lack of official sources in the national territory, patients say they are often forced to travel to other countries, such as Spain, to fill their cannabis prescriptions. As domestic production is not permitted, all medical cannabis in Ireland is imported.

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Although cannabis use is still not socially accepted in Ireland, the fact that protests can take place is a good step forward, Mr Smullen believes.

Almost two years after the introduction of a medical cannabis legislation in June 2019, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Ireland, Stephen Donnelly, announced this January the funding of a pilot program of access to medical cannabis over five years. The program follows the Health Products Regulatory Authority in its Cannabis for Medical Use - A Scientific Review report.

The funding and roll-out provisions for the program were released last January, but have been criticized by activists for only including a limited number of medical conditions.

The only ones listed are conditions resistant to treatment, including abnormal muscle contractures from multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, and symptoms of severe epilepsy.

The program allows oil-based solutions, suspensions or capsules whose concentration does not exceed 30 milligrams of THC per milliliter per dose and whose total volume does not exceed 60 milliliters.

The march itself was escorted by members of the Irish National Police, who interacted with the participants before and during the march. Protesters looped around a corner of Phoenix Park, near the criminal justice courts, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the headquarters of An Garda Síochána.

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“We were delighted to hear that they didn't feel the need to police at the Major Smoke Up event, once the walk was over they left and allowed everyone present to enjoy festivities, ”says Charlene Flynn, member of the MGCR.

We stopped in front of all these places to chant "We are not criminals", she adds. The group then returned to the Wellington Monument for festivities such as raffles, discussions and weed-themed entertainment.

Other activists campaigning to reform Irish law include Vera Twomey. She began advocating for the legalization of cannabis after using the herb to treat seizures in her 11-year-old daughter, who suffers from a severe form of epilepsy.

Twomey criticizes the high cost of drugs and the way medical cannabis is funded, with patients having to pay thousands of euros up front and wait several weeks before being reimbursed by the health service.

Tags : IrelandLaw

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