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Harris had 'good' meeting with Bord na Móna about it growing Ireland's medicinal cannabis supply

Yesterday, Simon Harris signed the law establishing Ireland’s first medicinal cannabis access scheme,

The medicinal cannabis access scheme was launched yesterday.
The medicinal cannabis access scheme was launched yesterday.
Image: Leah Farrell

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris said he had a “good” and “interesting” meeting with Bord na Móna recently about the semi-State agency taking up responsibility for growing Ireland’s medicinal cannabis supply.

In May, Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development Sean Canney told that the option of Bord na Móna growing medicinal cannabis has been discussed with the company’s management.

He told this website that it was at “very, very early stages”, but said that “a huge array of options of how to go from a brown to a green company are being looked at”.

“It is very much at the project phase at the moment”, but “the option of medicinal cannabis being grown on the site is being considered”, said the Galway TD. 

Last year, Bord na Móna announced staff redundancies of up to 430 employees. 

Growing our own

Yesterday, at the launch of the medicinal cannabis access scheme, Harris said:

I did have a very good and interesting meeting with Bord na Mona with Minister Canney in recent weeks and it is true that Bord na Móna are looking at this area.
Obviously they are a commercial semi-State, it is a matter for them to make these decisions, but instinctively I think in the medium term this is something that would make sense, for Ireland to have its own supply. I have spoken to my Danish counterpart and I know that is what they have done in Denmark, from a quality perspective, to grow their own. I think we are little bit away from that yet.

90154341_90154341 Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

While the minister said his first priority is to get the programme up and running and ensure that the products that are available can be made available to Irish patients, Ireland growing its own is an option that should be explored. 

The minister made a similar point in an interview for The Explainer podcast, stating that he has a “very open mind” about Ireland doing so, stating that his “gut feeling is [that] it should”.

The minister went one step further, indicating that the State or the public health service might end up owning its own medicinal cannabis supply. 

“I don’t necessarily think it would have to be a matter of Big Pharma, it could be well be that Ireland Inc would decide to own its own supply and that the public health service could own its own supply, or indeed that existing state companies and the likes could decide to diversify into this space,” he said. 

The minister said that the health department has been having a number of conversations with suppliers interested in importing cannabis into Ireland for medicinal use, with Harris stating “there is quite a lot of interest in supplying product into Ireland”, adding that the application process to potential suppliers is now open. 

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However, government sources have indicated that should Ireland go down the road of growing and owning its own supply, there could be big money to be made in terms of Ireland exporting its own product to other countries.

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