Ireland moved closer to legalizing marijuana for medicinal use when the minority government said on Thursday it would not block the first reading of a bill that is backed by all other parties.
Relaxing marijuana laws would signal a further acceptance of liberal values in once staunchly conservative Ireland. Last year Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote, having only decriminalized homosexuality and made divorce legal two decades ago.
Health Minister Simon Harris, whose government is not large enough to block legislation, said he would seek some amendments at a later stage pending a review of scientific and clinical advice that was commissioned earlier this month.
But he accepted the central objectives of the legislation introduced by left-wing opposition lawmaker Gino Kenny that would see Ireland join countries like Italy, the Czech Republic and Australia in relaxing its laws on medical grounds.