Introducing The MCAP: Government Rolls Out New Medical Cannabis Access Programme

Author:Mr Colin Kavanagh and Bridget McGrath
Profession:Arthur Cox

On 26 June, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, signed the Misuse of Drugs (Prescription and Control of Supply of Cannabis for Medical Use) Regulations 2019 (the "2019 Regulations").

The 2019 Regulations establish the Medical Cannabis Access Programme ("MCAP"), allowing certain patients to be treated with cannabis products (as distinct from authorised medicinal products containing cannabis such as Sativex) and commercial operators to supply these products to the Irish market. The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment) Order 2019 and the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Regulations 2019, both of which amend existing secondary legislation to facilitate the use of certain cannabis product for medical purposes, were signed into law on the same date.

The MCAP mirrors Denmark's Medicinal Cannabis Pilot Programme, but stops short of permitting the cultivation of cannabis products in Ireland. Although the MCAP is now operational, there are currently no medical cannabis products authorised for supply in Ireland.

Medical Cannabis product manufacturers and suppliers must now apply to the Health Products Regulatory Authority ("HPRA") for the necessary authorisation to make their products available in Ireland. Pending the availability of...

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