22 May 2016
Here’s the introduction to the piece
German Reforms Could Boost Medical Cannabis Introduction for Other EU Countries
Countries on the periphery like Ireland could benefit from medical cannabis reforms by European powerhouses such as Germany argues Brian Houlihan.
My colleague Graham de Barra recently wrote that the introduction of medical cannabis in Ireland has almost become inevitable. I agree with the opinions expressed and believe that changes in Ireland will be aided by reforms elsewhere within the EU. A perfect example of this would be the proposed German reforms of its medical cannabis regulation.
Germany is considered by many as being the economic and political powerhouse of Europe. If this sentiment is true, which I believe it is, then the influence Germany has over European affairs is worth considering. While recent moves towards medical cannabis regulation in the USA, Australia and elsewhere are not insignificant, they perhaps have a greater motivational effect on European activists than on policymakers. Arguably any German moves could have a greater influence on the process in European countries like Ireland.
It’s worth considering the following number of factors. Ireland’s biggest political party Fine Gael is part of the same European political grouping (the European People’s Party) as Angela Merkel’s ruling party in Germany. A significant proportion of Irish laws come from EU directives and other obligations, many of which are driven by Germany. Ireland is socially, politically, economically and legislatively closer to Germany and most of the wider EU (especially the UK) than the USA. Thus any reforms within the EU are likely to have a greater impact on Ireland.
I have long argued that focusing too much on the USA is largely a waste of time for European activists. Medical cannabis in the USA has mostly been introduced by ballot measures which states have voted on. In Ireland, and the wider EU, the introduction of medical products undergoes a much different process. If we want to introduce medical cannabis in Ireland then we need to work with government, health organisations and regulatory bodies, both domestic and European. This is why the German proposals could provide a valuable blueprint for other countries to introduce reforms.