MEDICINAL cannabis bill would have seen "cannabis in sweet shops" due to its serious legal flaws, according to a Cork Senator.
This week, the Oireachtas Health Committee rejected a bill put forward by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny Bill in a bid to legalise medical cannabis.
The unanimous decision not to pass the bill was based on 14 major legal flaws that would have had serious unintended consequences, according to Senator Colm Burke.
“We received a very detailed legal opinion on this. The Committee did not take the decision on this lightly,” Senator Burke told the Evening Echo.
“The first issue is that it doesn’t clearly define cannabis products. There are a hundred different cannabis products, all of the different strengths.”
Other major issues that led to the bill’s failure included no controls for the prescription of the product and the lack of professional indemnity cover for GP should they prescribe the product.
The bill would have also required the removal of cannabis as a controlled substance from under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
It also sought a separate regulatory agency to be set up specifically for cannabis.
"This would be another similar authority to the Health Product Regulatory Agency," Senator Burke said.
“Even an amendment wouldn’t fix this bill, it would have to go back to the drawing board completely,” he added.
Members from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Independents, Labour and Sinn Féin were represented on the Oireachtas Health Committee.
Senator Burke said he is not against using cannabis for medicinal purposes when proper procedure is followed, such as through compassionate access programmes.
“It’s like as if there is no mechanism there. There is, through a consultant but is has to be very carefully managed. It’s a particular area where expertise is needed. The bill we were talking about would see cannabis in sweet shops. It would improve access in that it would be a free for all.”
"I have had some people come to me who have tried using cannabis for medicinal purposes and they have suffered from fits of depression because it was not suitable for them and they had to come off it.”
Following the rejection of his bill, Deputy Kenny called the report "shambolic, to say the least."