Israel has long been known to have a progressive policy on medical marijuana. While the
pastime drug itself is illegal for recreational use, Israel boasts(?) 10,000 patients that are permitted by the government to use medical marijuana. So popular is Israel’s approach that earlier this year, former television personality Montel Williams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, visited the country to meet with legislators, doctors, and scientists, speaking highly of the initiative.
As the AP notes today (including a moving interview with a Buchenwald survivor), Israel is moving forward.
The medical cannabis industry is expanding as well, fueled by Israel’s strong research sector in medicine and technology — and notably, by government encouragement. Unlike in the United States and much of Europe, the issue inspires almost no controversy among the government and the country’s leadership. Even influential senior rabbis do not voice any opposition to its spread, and secular Israelis have a liberal attitude on marijuana.
Now, Israel’s Health Ministry is considering the distribution of medical marijuana through pharmacies beginning next year, a step taken by only a few countries, including Holland, which has traditionally led the way in Europe in legalizing medical uses of the drug.
Israel has already made advances in the “field.” Earlier this year, the company Tikum Olam developed a strain of medical marijuana that reportedly alleviates nausea, increases appetite, and eases pain for sufferers of Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and even post-traumatic stress disorder without getting the patient “high” (as the parents are calling it these days).
Does this mean Israel could become the next Holland or Colorado?
Could someone repeat the question?
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.