Tags Posts tagged with "Israel"

Israel

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Israel’s cabinet recently approved a proposal to decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana, permitting it to go to a vote in the country’s parliament, the Knesset. If it passes there, as anticipated, first-time marijuana offenders will face a fine of 1,000 shekels ($270 USD), but criminal charges will only be brought on a fourth offense. Gilad Erdan, Public Security Minister who led the reform effort said, “The government’s approval is an important step on the way to implement the new policy, which will emphasize public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement.”

Legislator Tamar Zandberg of the center-left Meretz party, chair of the Knesset Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, stated, “This is an important step, but not the end of the road. It sends a message that a million of Israelis who consume marijuana aren’t criminals. We will carry on following the details in the committee and ensure that the change is implemented.” The proposal was based on the suggestions of a committee headed by Public Security Ministry director-general Rotem Peleg, calling for a change of focus from criminal prosecution of marijuana users to fines and educational campaigns.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stated, “Israel cannot shut its eyes to the changes being made across the world in respect to marijuana consumption and its effect. Israel is already a world leader in medical cannabis, with some 25,000 registered in its national program, and cutting-edge research underway. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, almost 9% of Israelis use marijuana, although many believe the figure could be higher. For now, Israel’s predominantly conservative government is only going so far. Farming and selling marijuana would continue to be criminal offenses under the proposal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “On the one hand we are opening ourselves up to the future. On the other hand, we understand the dangers and will try to balance the two.” However, even some conservatives are coming around. MK Sharren Haskel of the right-wing Likud, chair of the Knesset Caucus for Medical Cannabis, said the proposal is “not enough.” Asserting that “criminalization does not work and wastes resources.” She stated, “I will keep fighting until we have a full-fledged legalization of cannabis.”

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Already a worldwide leader on marijuana-related research with a government-approved, government-funded national research center under construction, and “Millions of shekels” invested into businesses working on marijuana products-Israel’s government has allowed medical marijuana as a tonic for intractable illnesses since 1992.

Now, as legalization spreads like wildfire across America, Israel believes marijuana can be a money-making export product. Israel has plans to begin shipping medical marijuana to other countries within a few years, however, in the short term, the country’s cannabis program is a victim of its own success. As things stand now, Israel is going to run out of weed.

Israel police are warning of impending supply shortages for the country’s thousands of medical marijuana patients within the next few months. As the Jerusalem Post reports, the reason behind the coming dry spell is that there aren’t enough workers to till the soil at the country’s eight marijuana farms. Israel plans to lift restrictions to allow an unlimited number of facilities where weed is grown and processed.

Under this limitation, Israel’s eight cannabis producers are trying to add 100 new workers to fulfill demand. In order to work in weed in Israel, you need a permit from the police, and cops have yet to provide the paperwork. Israeli police are also responsible for a delay in expanding marijuana access in the country, the Post reports.

There are three new patient trials to test whether cannabis can be given to people suffering from maladies like “Dementia, migraines, and psoriasis.” While the latter affliction, plenty serious for anyone living through it, would be cause for mockery among America’s weed-haters; compounds in marijuana have shown great promise in aiding ex-athletes and others suffering from brain trauma.

In order to participate in a marijuana study in Israel, each individual patient needs approval from police and the cops haven’t signed off on that, either. At least in Israel, this isn’t because police are obstructionist or hostile. They just don’t have the people necessary to process the paperwork, they claim.

Israeli Police say they’re going to create a special unit dedicated to approving marijuana patients and workers, solely to speed things along. Once they do, “We will do everything we can to minimize the waiting time,” police vowed, according to the Post. In the meantime, Israel’s 25,000 marijuana patients may be well-advised to stock up and store some weed away for the dry months.

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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. And Syqe Medical, both Israeli firms, have teamed up to create the world’s first medical cannabis inhaler. The product is aimed at giving patients medical relief without the effects of THC getting them high. The inhaler works as a metered-dose inhaler, which gives very precise doses. This solves the issue of not knowing how much cannabis a patient is really consuming when they use traditional marijuana products that are smoked.

As marijuana has become more popular as of late as a medicine to treat pain and other symptoms, a product like this is a valuable solution which allows doctors to more effectively track and monitor patient’s usage. The Syqe inhaler is currently being used at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital, where it has been in use for over a year.

Cannabis differs from other drugs in that it is practically impossible to overdose on marijuana. However, doctors still shy away from prescribing a medicine that is slightly unconventional in the way it is dosed. The marijuana inhaler would solve a lot of the concerns about not being able to prescribe a controlled dosage of marijuana to patients.

Teva is currently the world’s largest generic drug maker, and will be the company responsible for marketing and distributing the inhaler. What separates Syqe inhaler from any other marijuana delivery product is that previously with medicinal marijuana, patients had no clear idea for how much marijuana they have smoked, whereas with the Syqe inhaler patients and doctors can see exactly how much marijuana has been consumed.

Syqe’s product is waiting for approval from Israel’s health ministry before they can start distributing it for usage at home. According to figures, around 26,000 patients are legal to use medicinal marijuana products in Israel. The inhaler also aids people who are embarrassed to smoke marijuana in public, by disguising the smoking process as using an inhaler.

Syqe also has intentions of using their technology to expand into different medicinally useful plants, such as opium poppy. With the increased legalization in America, this product, if legalized in Israel, could have immense potential to enter the U.S. markets as their first medicinal marijuana inhaler.

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Behind closed quarters somewhere in the recesses of the Israeli government’s Agricultural Research Organization, Dr. Nirit Bernstein has been working for the past three years to perfect the practice of growing marijuana. Bernstein, a senior investigative scientist at the Agricultural Research Organization’s Volcani Center, was Israel’s first scientist to obtain a research license from the Health Ministry’s Medical Cannabis Unit.

Currently, the Volcani Center, which works under the broader umbrella of the Agriculture Ministry, is in the process of developing a National Center for Research in Medical Cannabis.

However, an inside launch was already initiated this spring, the National Center, as well as the current and planned medical marijuana study at Volcani, was actually confidential until a few weeks ago; the organization only began to open up about the research after a June 26 government decision to control the medical cannabis space.

While a few investigative researchers are already working within the structure of the National Center, the research will receive a new home in the shape of a NIS 2.5 million building that is said to be complete by the middle -2017. At the moment, the medical cannabis work at Volcani is confined to the labs and cultivating facilities of Bernstein and one other scientist.

As the first person in Israel to perform research on cannabis cultivation, Bernstein said it took her almost more than a year and a half to earn the ability to do so – with the help of Yuval Landschaft, director of the Health Ministry’s Medical Cannabis Unit.

Although patients can obtain a certain number of grams of cannabis with their prescriptions, it is also important to comprehend precisely what is inside of this medicine known as marijuana, according to Bernstein.

Bernstein’s plan is to acquire how to guide the plants to produce the most effective ingredients dealing with specific medical issues – thereby developing “a safer cannabis for the patient,” she explained, adding that many environmental factors go into developing the plant, such as light intensity, the amount of water used, fertilizers and humidity.

“I think we are really at a turning point in terms of usage of cannabis for medical purposes.”

Dr. Hinanit Koltai, who is also researching medical cannabis at Volcani, is looking into the plant’s development as a medicine for inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and colitis.

With the establishment of the National Center, as well as the June 26 government decision to regulate the sector, the researchers expressed optimism about the future of medical cannabis in Israel.

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The Israeli Healthy Ministry is allowing a hundred more physicians to give out prescriptions and licenses for medical marijuana. This is twice the current rate and allows more patients have and access to medical marijuana. The country has been pretty progressive with their policies on medical marijuana and as of today about 23,000 people in Israel use the medicine. The new edict from the ministry will expand the benefits of medical marijuana to many more thousands of people that could benefit from cannabis in some capacity.

At the moment, there are thirty-six physicians allowed to prescribe medical marijuana, with half of those physicians within the ministry’s medical cannabis unit while the other half are spread throughout different hospitals around the country. As acceptance has grown for cannabis, so has demand, prompting the ministry to make this change. The issue of obtaining medical marijuana has been an incredibly daunting one the patient was suffering from a terminal condition such as cancer.

The training of more physicians, which is going to take place during the fall is tasked with helping patients in two ways. First by widening the pool of doctors who are knowledgeable about the benefits of medical marijuana and are willing to prescribe it. Secondly, it is going to save patients the hassle of having to wait an extremely long time for something they may need urgently.

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The Justice Ministry is looking at the chance of Israel decriminalizing the use of lighter drugs such as marijuana, according to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Wednesday. Shaked informed Army Radio that under new possible laws, people caught with less intense drugs would merely need to pay a fine. It would no longer send people to jail.

Shaked was asked whether or not this was the first step in legalization in drugs such as marijuana. Seemingly a bit vexed, she responded: “we are talking about decriminalization, not legalization.” He stressed that the reasoning behind the law is that the use of certain drugs are much too common to put people in jail for, but at the same time, should not be allowed by the government.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked goes to the Jewish Home party meeting every week. She reports that she has been happy because of the changing policy towards soft drugs after entering office in 2015. Shaked did not go into detail. However, Israel’s Hebrew-language online magazine Cannabis reported that Ministerial Committee for Legislation is going to hold a vote on Sunday to decide whether or not they would like to decriminalize the drug. Decriminalization would apply to anyone over the age of 21 with fifteen or fewer grams of marijuana.

Those found with marijuana in their home (under 15 grams of course) would need to pay NIS 300. Those caught with the same amount in public would need to pay NIS 1,500. The new law would not change the punishment for anyone found growing marijuana in their own home or for anyone under the age of 21, according to the report. During the Spring, a similar measure was not passed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which would have allowed up to five grams of marijuana for personal use.

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