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Irish farmer who provided sick people with cannabis oil at cost or for free avoids jail

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This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
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‘Cannabis oil should be supplied to people in this country like it is in other jurisdictions without seriously ill people having to go through hell to get it’

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An Irish sheep farmer who claims to have helped hundreds of sick people by providing them with cannabis oil has avoided jail time for weed possession but will be forced to give up supplying people with the medicine they need.

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According to a detailed accounting in Sunday World, the farmer says he tried to help the seriously ill in a country where medicinal cannabis is barely accessible. He recently told reporters he did so by providing cannabis oils at cost or for free.

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“I have helped hundreds of people over the years,” he told the Sunday World, adding that even though he was “the main supplier in the southeast” for over a decade, “I never made one penny out of it.”

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The farmer seems to regard Ireland’s current approach to cannabis as untenable. He warned that the rules now in place are driving patients, desperate for medicine, towards unscrupulous criminals.

Recreational cannabis is illegal in Ireland, with the national police relaying that it is an offence to cultivate, import, export, produce, supply and possess weed except in accordance with a ministerial licence. To date, policy does not allow for cultivating marijuana for “medical purposes and no licences have been issued for this activity,” the information adds.

Forbes reported in November, however, that the country “has recently regulated access to some medical cannabis products for specific medical conditions,” although patients must receive health ministry approval on a case-by-case basis.

In late November, Gino Kenny, a member of Ireland’s People Before Profit political party, tabled a bill that would amend the “Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 to enable a person who is at least 18 years of age to have possession, for the person’s personal use, of either or both cannabis and cannabis resin.”

The farmer told Sunday World that he charged €250 ($360) for 22-millilitre vials, building in a €50 ($72) margin on each vial so that he would be able to provide something to sick people who had no means of paying the price.

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He claims he was told by oil users that it has helped with easing symptoms of such conditions as Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and even cancer.

Although he was also growing cannabis, the farmer ended up being charged with three counts of possession following three searches over 24 months at his farm, starting in 2018. The seized cannabis products had an estimated street value of €35,000 ($50,400).

Sensi Seeds reports a person caught with cannabis for either the first or second time may receive a €1,000 ($1,440) fine. If the quantity is deemed excessive, the fine can be enhanced. With regards to selling, “any sale of controlled drugs such as cannabis can be punished with a fine of up to €2,500 ($3,600). This may also be accompanied by a prison sentence of up to a year.”

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Appearing in court last month, the judge imposed a suspended jail term, provided the man remains on good behaviour. Though the judge characterized his decision to break the law as misguided, he acknowledged that profit appeared to play no role in his efforts. He urged the man to go home and concentrate on lambing.

“Now, with this conviction and the publicity, I can’t do this anymore,” the farmer said, per Sunday World, emphasizing his concern that sick people who are desperate will end up going to con artists to access cannabis for self-treatment.

“Cannabis oil should be supplied to people in this country like it is in other jurisdictions without seriously ill people having to go through hell to get it,” he added, appealing for current laws to be changed.

The complete Sunday World article is available here.

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