Health Minister Simon Harris suggests growing cannabis in Ireland

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Minister for Health Simon Harris has suggested the possibility of farmers in Ireland growing cannabis in the future as part of his plan to push legalization of medicinal marijuana.

This week RTÉ's agricultural programme Ear to the Ground examined cannabis farms and the possibility of growing the crop in Ireland at some stage in the future if more liberal laws around cannabis are introduced.

Harris told the show that he would like to see medical marijuana grown in Ireland in the future and that he hopes to introduce legislation allowing for medicinal use of the plant as early as next year.

“This is not about the recreational use and people smoking joints. This is about using in a controlled way, in a monitored way, with the support of your clinician, a product that could ease your pain and suffering after you’ve tried all the conventional treatments." the Minister said.

“This is a major priority for me and I really want to see this happen in 2019.” he added.

When speaking about the idea of Irish farmers growing cannabis he said, “I think I could be an opportunity for Irish farmers in due course."

“Does it make sense to grow your own in Ireland rather than be dependent on importing a product? I think quite frankly it does.”

simon harris
Simon Harris added however that the government would have to import cannabis into Ireland in the short term if new laws are passed.

There is quite a lead in time and there are patients who need this product as soon as possible.

“What we’re likely to do in the first course of action is to try and secure a product."

“Then in the medium terms talking about growing our own and securing our own supply in Ireland is the sensible thing to do.”

Ear to the Ground presenter Darragh McCullough visited a cannabis farm in Phoenix Arizona in the US to examine how weed is grown in these types of facilities.

It was legalised in 2010 in Arizona however it is tightly controlled and only made available via prescription.

Earlier this year a cannabis café opened in Waterford selling a range of cannabis and cannabis-infused products.

The Blooms café sells cannabis to customers with a THC content which is below the legal limit.

THC is a psychoactive agent found in cannabis.

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