A special cannabis courier will travel from Ireland to the Netherlands to secure a three-month supply for patients currently unable to travel.
Around 30 Irish patients have been given special dispensation to travel to The Hague in the Netherlands on a regular basis to buy medical cannabis. They are now unable to do so as travel across Europe has been significantly restricted as authorities battle to contain the coronavirus.
They pleaded with the Department of Health to help them gain the marijuana they need to treat their conditions. Minister for Health Simon Harris has now announced assistance for those patients.
“I am very glad we have been able to make arrangements to have an emergency supply of their products collected for them in Holland, where the products are supplied, and to have the products delivered to the patients in Ireland,” said Harris.
Patients are pleased that they will be able to receive medical cannabis, but they are now scrambling to raise the funds to pay for a three-month supply up front.
Ireland permits medical marijuana for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and treatment resistant epilepsy.
The Irish government has previously said that producers have not yet made medical cannabis products that meet the accepted quality standards available directly to the Irish marketplace. For that reason, patients that have been prescribed medical cannabis are told they must visit Transvaal Pharmacy in The Hague to pick it up.
Cannabis oil products cannot be commercially exported from the Netherlands, forcing Irish patients to travel all the way to The Hague on a regular basis.
Patients feared they would not be able to receive their supply during the coronavirus lockdown. They welcomed the temporary solution, but said a long-term arrangement must be made in order to spare families the expense of repeated trips to The Hague.
Families of patients suffering from conditions not covered by the Irish government also make the trip to the Netherlands to buy cannabis.
One said she must find €975 ($1,054) per month plus travel costs in order to relieve symptoms of Garner syndrome – a form of polyposis – in her son. She is campaigning for the government to broaden its list of qualifying conditions, while many are putting pressure on the Irish government to quickly roll out its own medical cannabis program.
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