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life changing Senator Pat Casey comes out to support campaigners who planted cannabis at his office

Senator Casey met the campaigners who have planted cannabis in public squares around Ireland

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Senator Pat Casey meets a pro-cannabis campaigner outside his office

Senator Pat Casey meets a pro-cannabis campaigner outside his office

Senator Pat Casey meets a pro-cannabis campaigner outside his office

Fianna Fail Senator Pat Casey came out to support campaigners who planted cannabis plants outside his office in Arklow this week.

The event was organised by Cork cannabis campaigner Martin Condon who has been planting cannabis plants in public spaces around Ireland in recent months.

Senator Casey came out to support the group as they gave speeches in the Wicklow town but wasn’t involved in planting any cannabis plants himself.

He told the Sunday World that he was there to offer his backing for medicinal cannabis to be covered by the drug payment scheme.

“I don’t need the guards knocking on my door,” he joked.

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Senator Pat Casey

Senator Pat Casey

Senator Pat Casey

“I couldn’t agree with them planting the plants but I can understand sometimes you do things to raise awareness and if it raises awareness and gets it across the line maybe it’s worth it.

“The plants have been removed. I don’t think they were there too long before they were removed by the council. Nobody was harmed in it.”

Martin has planted dozens of plants mainly in Cork recently and is calling for cannabis to be legalised in Ireland.

He was joined by a number of other campaigners including Pamela Barnes who got a licence for medicinal cannabis for her son Ryan who has a rare genetic disorder known as Gardner Syndrome which can be treated by medicinal cannabis.

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Cannabis campaigner Martin Condon pictured planting a cannabis plant in Cork city centre.
Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Cannabis campaigner Martin Condon pictured planting a cannabis plant in Cork city centre. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Cannabis campaigner Martin Condon pictured planting a cannabis plant in Cork city centre. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Pamela was granted a licence to procure the medicinal cannabis but has to pay €1,080 a month for the drug as it is not covered under the drug payment scheme which would significantly lower the cost to €114 a month.

“The human side of it which really converted me was that Ryan is now holding down a job and that wouldn’t have been possible before. It is working,” said Senator Casey.

“When I met him first over four years ago, he had no chance of ever holding down a job. It is life changing. He’s now an adult and earning his own wage.

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“The cost of €1,080 a month is too much. This is having an impact on the family life.”

He said while he agreed with medicinal cannabis being covered by the drug repayment scheme he was not currently in favour of legalising cannabis for recreational use.

“My mind is open to be convinced but I’m not convinced. All drugs are drugs. I was a heavy smoker myself in my time and that was a drug in itself and sometimes you wonder if we don’t start on these things are we better off. But from a medical point of view I have no problem supporting it.

“There is a huge difference between recreational use and a medical licence.”

While standing outside Senator Casey’s office, Martin said: “Sadly we would much preferred if that sign up there said Stephen Donnelly but Stephen Donnelly is a coward. At least Pat Casey is a gentleman enough to come out and join us. I have to commend Pat Casey, a great man who Pamela has spoken very highly of as well. I would give Fianna Fail and Fine Gael a hard time all the time but they do have good people within them.”

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A cannabis plant placed in Arklow

A cannabis plant placed in Arklow

A cannabis plant placed in Arklow

As well campaigning for easier access to medicinal cannabis, Martin wants recreational cannabis use legalised in a similar way to alcohol.

Pamela thanked Senator Casey for his support saying he was a number of people who helped in her campaign to get the licence in the first place.

“It’s not an easy thing and people think once you get your licence, you’re there but that is the very first of many hurdles that they make you climb. They’re constantly putting a barrier between us and access to a plant which is a simple plant that is growing around,” she said.

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