A recent study finds support for medical marijuana in Ireland is at an all-time high, with a whopping 92% of the country’s citizens in favor. Cannabis – both medical and recreational – has up until now remained illegal in Ireland, although that could change soon. The once staunchly-conservative republic is now poised relax its position on medical marijuana, with minority government announcing it would not block the first reading of a bill that is backed by all other parties.

Ireland’s Health Minister, Simon Harris, whose government is not large enough to block legislation, stated that a review of scientific and clinical data on medical marijuana must be concluded before any proposed bills move forward. With the overwhelming majority of both lawmakers and citizens, it’s likely the country will fall in rank with other Western nations considering legalization.

“While there are elements I do not and will not support, I don’t wish to divide the Dail (parliament),” Harris said in a statement. “I share the concerns of patients who believe that cannabis should be a treatment option for certain medical conditions and I recognize the urgency and worry they feel.”

Lawmaker Gino Kenny, a member of the People Before Profit Alliance party, recently introduced legislation that would guarantee safe access to medical marijuana for patients suffering from a variety of illnesses, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and chronic pain.

“I even got emails this morning saying that ‘if this goes through it will change my life,’” Kenny said in an interview with RTE. “If this can do something small for somebody, it’s a very, very positive thing that’s happened.”

Part of the proposed legislation would include the creation of a Cannabis Research Institute, which would conduct or commission and publish cannabis-related research. This would go hand-in-hand with cannabis regulatory authority, which would be tasked with regulating the sale, labelling, advertising and marketing of cannabis and related products.

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Health Minister Harris is expected to wrap of his review of medical marijuana research at the end of January. For the thousands of people awaiting access in Ireland, this cannot come fast enough. Kenny hopes that with the support of the people, legalization will happen soon.

“It’s been overwhelming, not only in the (parliament), but to see the people who have contacted us and who are trying to access medical cannabis for themselves or their children.”Me