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In-Depth Coverage Of The Irish And European Markets

Cannabis Wrapped 2023

Updated: Jan 18



Legislative Progress

The global cannabis landscape witnessed unprecedented legislative strides in 2023. Malta and Germany emerged as torchbearers, expanding access to both medical and recreational cannabis. The Netherlands, pioneering a pilot scheme in Breda and Tilburg, sets the tone for transparent and responsible cannabis regulation. This global trend reflects a growing acknowledgement of cannabis's therapeutic potential and economic benefits.



Citizen Assembly Unveils Public Sentiment in Ireland

In a landmark event, Ireland's Citizen Assembly on Drug Use convened after several delays. Gathering in Dublin, 99 citizens engaged in extensive discussions, culminating in a narrow vote against recommending cannabis regulation. The Assembly gathered over 800 submissions from the general public and other interested groups, with an overwhelming trend of cannabis regulation throughout the submissions. The final meeting saw a recommendation to regulate cannabis loose by a single vote. After members voiced their discontent with the voting process it was agreed that the closeness in voting would be reflected in the final report submitted to Government. One thing was clear throughout the assembly, criminalisation of personal possession has not worked and never will work, perhaps signalling a change for the future of our drug policy.


 

Public Perception and Social Stigma

A noteworthy aspect has been the changing public perception of cannabis. Surveys conducted throughout the year demonstrated a growing acceptance of cannabis use for both medical and recreational purposes. An anonymous survey of Irish doctors shed light on the medical community's evolving stance on cannabis. An overwhelming 80% expressed support for cannabis legalization, with 56% willing to prescribe if legal. The survey emphasized a broad spectrum of conditions for which doctors would consider prescribing cannabis, indicating a growing acceptance within the medical fraternity. This seismic change in public opinion reflects a growing acknowledgement of cannabis's potential benefits and a departure from outdated stigmas.


Ireland’s First Medical Cannabis Facility

Ireland witnessed a groundbreaking announcement with the announcement of the first medical cannabis cultivation facility in Belfast. Growth Industries LTD has announced the new facility will open in 2024.



Ava Barry and Abigail McQuillan

Tragically, 2023 marked the passing of Ava Barry, whose battle with Dravet Syndrome ignited a nationwide campaign for medical cannabis access. Ava's story, championed by her mother Vera Barry, underscored the urgency for accessible and compassionate cannabis policies in Ireland.


Also this year we witnessed another passing , that of Abigail McQuillan. Abigail suffered from Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, and after lengthy campaigns for both access and funding, Abigail was granted access to medical cannabis.



MCAP Programme Under Scrutiny: Review and Private Clinics

The statutory review of Ireland's Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) commenced in 2023, coinciding with its five-year milestone. It is hoped the review will address concerns about the limited access permitted and pave the way for a more inclusive MCAP. Simultaneously, the opening of two private medical cannabis clinics provides an alternative for patients navigating the complex landscape of cannabis access.



As we conclude the Cannabis Chronicles of 2023, it's evident that this year marked a turning point in cannabis reform. Nations globally recognize the imperative for compassionate and well-informed approaches to cannabis policy, setting the stage for a future defined by progress and understanding.


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