Legalisation of medicinal cannabis would verge on the immoral, says Irish pharmacist politician

Kate O’Connell rejects claim that medical marijuana Bill would cut overdoses and save lives

Proposals to legalise medicinal cannabis are “madness” and “verging on the immoral”, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health has been told by the Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell. O’Connell, a practising pharmacist in Dublin, said the proposals would undermine existing regulations that are designed to protect the public.

She was responding to the People before Profit TD Gino Kenny, who said his Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill would save lives by reducing overdoses from other drugs. Ms O’Connell said the arguments for legalisation rested on “fake facts”, anecdote and hearsay, separate from scientific evidence about the effectiveness and safety of cannabis.

“I see this Bill as undermining the current regulatory framework we have with the Health [Products] Regulatory Authority and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, who are internationally recognised as the competent authorities,” she told the committee.

She pointed out that a recent report from the authority found a complete lack of clinical and scientific evidence for medicinal cannabis and that patients can already obtain a cannabis product provided that a competent, qualified hospital consultant judges that it is needed. Ms O’Connell asked what would happen if a person with epilepsy had a fit after taking medicinal cannabis and then crashed a car. “On whose hands is that?”

She added that after speaking against the Bill at a previous meeting she had endured “10 days of vile abuse” online

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