The Irish Independent has learned that the Department of Health is bringing in legislation to legalise medicinal cannabis.
The move follows applications from drugs companies to sell cannabis-based medicines in Ireland.
However, a spokesperson for the department stressed that the change would not apply to recreational use of the drug.
Many countries allow medicinal cannabis for the treatment of illnesses such as multiple sclerosis.
Irish law rules out even medicinal cannabis, except for research, but the Government has taken a different approach from the previous administration, when former health minister Mary Harney was reluctant to loosen controls.
Recently resigned junior health minister Roisin Shortall said last year she was examining proposals to make cannabis-based medicines available.