Over 90% of Irish people support access to cannabis on medical grounds

The survey shows growing support for the legalisation of the drug when recommended by a doctor

A large majority of the Irish population supports the legalisation of cannabis when recommended for medical reasons by a doctor.

A new survey shows that 92% of the Irish population support the use of the drug for medical purposes.

The research, conducted by Rec C and commissioned by non-profit health organisation Help Not Harm, shows that levels of support are highest in Munster counties at 94%.

Women also showed high favourability towards the move, compared with 90% of men.

“The people have compassion enough to provide necessary treatment for those who need it, it’s now up  to legislators to follow their lead”, Tom Curran, a Deputy Director of Help Not Harm said.

New families were most in agreement, with 92% agreeing with the legalisation of cannabis if recommended by a doctor. Rate of agreement declines with age, with 86% of 65+ year olds agreeing.

The Joint Committee on health met earlier this month to discuss cannabis medical reform in Ireland, as well as the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016.

Speakers at this discussion included Lorraine Nolan, Chief Executive of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), Dr. Colin Doherty, a consultant neurologist at St James’s Hospital and Vera Twomey a regular campaigner for access to medical cannabis.

In a statement, the Department of Health said Minister Simon Health has "committed to reviewing policy on medicinal cannabis".

The Minister is asking the HPRA to provide expert advice on the issue, including legislative changes that would be required to allow use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in Ireland.

The Oireachtas Health Committee will discuss the issue later this month.