Sometimes traveling to a dispensary on the other side of time can seem like a pain. Now imagine being forced to actually leave the country and pick up your weed in a neighboring nation — even if it was doctor-prescribed medical marijuana.
Amazingly, that’s exactly what Ireland’s medical marijuana patients have had to do for years since the nation’s laws required them to travel all the way to the Netherlands just to pick up their prescriptions.
The Netherlands fills medical marijuana prescriptions for patients from a number of EU countries. Most Irish patients acquire their cannabis from Transvaal Pharmacy in The Hague. Traveling from Dublin to the Netherlands takes an entire day and involves a plane, a train, and a bus, with costs that can easily cost hundreds of euros per round-trip.
Most tokers can understand the burden of having to travel two whole days, at considerable expense, just to score some smoke. In the Irish case, though, these are medical patients in need of their medicine. As a result, these patients must take on this hardship on top of contending with debilitating health issues for which they were prescribed cannabis in the first place.
The only relief came earlier this year when Ireland instituted a pilot program for weed delivery in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, fortunately, the country has chosen to make the delivery program permanent. Green Goddess be praised!
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly came out in support of the change. “Many patients and their families have shared stories with both me and officials in my department about how this initiative has made a huge improvement to their lives,” he said. “They spoke about the stress of having to travel regularly and the associated health risks with that, as well as their concerns that they would run out of their medication.”
Donnelly added, “There will no longer be a need for them to travel abroad in order to collect their prescribed cannabis products. Instead, they can focus on their health and well-being. The welfare of patients and their families comes first, and I am happy to reassure them that they will no longer have to personally source their prescriptions.”
Still, for all the good cheer, the Department of Health has not actually finalized how the newly expanded delivery and collection operation will go into effect nor how it will be managed.
Ireland’s entire medical cannabis program, in fact, is still in a pilot stage that’s scheduled to last until 2024. At present, 30 doctors in Ireland are licensed to prescribe medical marijuana. Let’s hope this delivery service is a major step in a more reasonable direction.
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