On Thursday 26 January, a public meeting was held on the legalisation of medicinal cannabis by People Before Profit Galway.
The well-attended meeting, of about fifty people, was chaired by Joe Loughnane of the Galway Anti-Racism Network and included a panel calling for this legalisation of the whole cannabis plant.
Gino Kenny, TD, was the special guest on the night who gave a speech to those attending about the Bill be put forward that is currently in its second stage of discussion in Dail Eireann.
On his panel were Tom Curran, partner of the late Marie Fleming went public with her MS in an attempt at tackling the ‘Right to die’ in her own case.
Alongside Mr Curran was Mark Gaynor, a father to four year old Ronan Gaynor, who is currently taking legal amounts of medicinal cannabis to tackle the daily symptoms of his terminal brain tumour.
Both individuals described in detail the trials and tribulations they faced in terms of trying to get this vital soothing medicine for their loved ones.
Tom Curran said of the effects of the cannabis for his late partner, “if I was religious, I’d call it miraculous”.
Following both of these men, Gino Kenny spoke about his move to the political spotlight in Ireland and how his journey into public life developed.
He met Vera Twomey in her home who recently pleaded to Dail members to legalise the drug for her young daughter who experiences traumatic seizures.
Kenny said that in order to get this legislation passed that it’s needed to “fight like tigers” while a member of the public commented that there needs to be people power behind this campaign.
Kenny argued that the cannabis plant had been “completely demonised” in recent times and described it as the “peoples’ plant” that needs to be returned to its rightful owners.
From the crowd, concerns came about the relationship between legalising the drug and the pharmaceutical industry as well as medical professionals as well as political party support.
There is hope that with further efforts, the current Bill could be passed in the Dail by summer 2017.
But there were concerns again from the public that if the Bill was passed too quickly without caution, that it would soon become overly regulated and not meet the needs of individuals.
The message that Gino Kenny had for the public was that they “should not be criminalised” for relieving their individual suffering.
-By Cathy Lee