Shalom Life | February 22, 2014

Medical Marijuana Use up 30% in Israel

Pharmaceutical companies are being accused of trying to curb medicinal cannabis use in the country

By: Graham Sigurdson

Published: November 29th, 2013 in Health » Israel

According to figures released by the Israeli Health Ministry, an increase of 30 percent occurred in the number of patients that had been approved to use cannabis legally, rising to 13,000 in 2013, from 10,000 in 2012.

On Thursday morning, via Israel Radio, MK Haim Katz of the Labor party said that pharmaceutical companies that were “driven by economic interests” have been working to restrict the granting of medical marijuana permits due to it cutting into their profits.

A recent study, however, suggests legalizing medicinal marijuana will result in significant financial gains for Israel.

Katz is the current chair of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health committee.

Though widely considered one of the world’s most advanced countries when it comes to the use of medicinal cannabis, the Israeli government has continued to tread cautiously, despite even a rabbi's claim that marijuana is kosher.

2009 saw a decision made to establish a separate government authority that would oversee the production and securing of cannabis. Despite this, a decision has yet to be implemented, which has left the issue in the Health Ministry’s hands. In May, Health Minister Yael German said during a Knesset hearing made the claim that “people who are helped by cannabis should be able to receive it.”

Work towards a formal proposal to regulate medical marijuana is underway by the Health, Agriculture and Public Security ministries.

As noted last Thursday by Israel Radio, the ministries are expected to present a plan within the next two weeks.

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