Israel Holds Its Place in the Emerging Global Cannabis Market

David Schacter is the inventor of CannabiScope, an interactive cannabinoid mapping system that revolutionizes the way consumers choose the perfect cannabis strain. He has lived in Tel Aviv, giving him a unique viewpoint on one of the world’s most progressive medical cannabis programs.

There are some major differences between the way medical marijuana systems works in California compared to Israel.

In California, it is now possible to arrange a video interview with a doctor (24/7). The quick chat most likely will result in prescription of an official state medical license, all of which happens within a matter of minutes. The doctors are connected with dispensaries and delivery services, making it convenient for consumers who may need renew their licenses, which expire after one year.

In Israel, the situation couldn’t be more opposite. To be a medical cannabis patient, you have to suffer from one or more serious conditions. After trying nearly every pharmaceutical possible, a patient just might get a license, if he or she asks over and over again. Cannabis as a medicine is still seen as a “last resort,” as many times the prescriptions written are for those cancer patients who are seeking pain relief during their final days. However, that being said, Israel does have the highest per capita rate of prescribed medical cannabis patients per country with a population of nearly 8 million.

The medical marijuana system in Israel is not perfect, but it’s doing something that no other country has been able to do; and that is provide medical cannabis as part of the national health care system.

The Israeli system provides medical-grade cannabis to patients, going as far as having supervisors monitor the way the patients medicate (pre -rolled joints, vaporizers, topicals and edibles) while at the hospitals and health centers.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is accepted as a condition which may qualify a person to receive cannabis as relief, and since there is a mandatory draft for both men and women at 18 years old, there is a high likelihood that more prescriptions will be written to treat military personnel in the near future.

Israeli citizens have guaranteed health insurance, which is taken from taxes, but unlike European health care systems, Israel includes cannabis as a medication; whereas in Germany patients must pay for cannabis medication in addition to their normal health care costs.

Pending a Supreme Court Decision on the topic, Israeli Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said that there will be an increase in the amount of doctors authorized to prescribe cannabis, which will result in more patients. The new law will allow for cannabis prescription to be picked up at any pharmacy just like every other prescribed medication. The expansion of the system will require more products and cultivation in order to meet the demands.

Israeli patients are prescribed a certain amount of cannabis per month, depending on their symptoms and conditions. Prescriptions typically range from 20-40 grams per month. I have seen a patient who was given 120 grams, but they were very ill at the time, while losing their fight with cancer.

Each patient pays the same amount for the medication, no matter what the prescribed amount. The monthly fee, which is partially subsidizes, is only 300 – 400 Shekels, which is the equivalent of approximately $75-100.

In October, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper led a group from Colorado around the world for business development. In Israel, the group meet with Israeli Heads of State P.M. Netanyahu and President Perez, and a slew of other professionals to establish long term relationships. While the official meetings dealt with important issues such as renewable energy, water conservation, biofuels and the aerospace sectors; having a spokesman like Gov. Hickenlooper out there campaigning to the world that the sky hasn’t fallen since prohibition ended, is priceless.

“The whole world is looking at Colorado and watching what has happened during the past few years since cannabis was legalized. Colorado is now looking towards Israel for research and technology to help foster in the new green wave.”

The climate in Israel is ideal for growing cannabis, including strains with high THC and CBD values. They have a vast amount of experience in pharmaceuticals and agriculture, meaning it will not be long before Israel becomes a world exporter in cannabis related pharmaceutical products, exceeding their exports arms.

Croatia and Israel have had friendly relations in the past pertaining to researching medical cannabis and its applications. Australia is heavily pushing to open up medical use for their citizens, and the new Prime Minister of Canada has said that legalization is next for his country.

While there are some in Israel who are still reluctant, and don’t believe that Israel will ever export cannabis, there is a wide perception that things have already changed, and it’s just a matter of time until the laws catch up to society.

There is one thing that Americans can expect from Israel, and that is that Israel will continue to work towards scientific research and technological development in the cannabis sector.

  • William Clark

    No one should promote the canard that marijuana is a drug. In truth it’s a medicinal herb, cultivated, bred, and evolved in service to human beings over thousands of years.

    “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that had two enemies: the anti-war left and black people. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting people to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, break up their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” –John Ehrlichman

    Prohibition of marijuana is a premise built on a tissue of lies: Concern For Public Safety. Our new laws save hundreds of lives every year, on our highways alone. In November of 2011, a
    study at the University of Colorado found that in the thirteen states that decriminalized marijuana between 1990 and 2009, traffic fatalities have dropped by nearly nine percent—now nearly ten percent in Michigan—more than the national average, while sales of beer went flat by five percent. No wonder Big Alcohol opposes it. Ambitious, unprincipled, profit-driven undertakers might be tempted too.

    In 2012 a study released by 4AutoinsuranceQuote revealed that marijuana users are safer drivers than non-marijuana users, as “the only significant effect that marijuana has on
    operating a motor vehicle is slower driving”, which “is arguably a positive thing”. Despite occasional accidents, eagerly reported by police-blotter ‘journalists’ as ‘marijuana-related’, a mix of substances was often involved. Alcohol, most likely, and/or prescription drugs, nicotine,
    caffeine, meth, cocaine, heroin, and a trace of the marijuana passed at a party ten days ago. However, on the whole, as revealed in big-time, insurance-industry stats, within the broad swath of mature, experienced consumers, slower and more cautious driving shows up in significant numbers. A recent Federal study has reached the same conclusion. And legalization should improve those numbers further.

    No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. It’s the most benign ‘substance’ in history. Most people—and particularly patients who medicate with marijuana–use it in place of prescription drugs or alcohol.

    Marijuana has many benefits, most of which are under-reported or never mentioned in American newspapers. Research at the University of Saskatchewan indicates that, unlike alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or Nancy (“Just say, ‘No!’”) Reagan’s beloved nicotine, marijuana is a neuroprotectant that actually encourages brain-cell growth. Research in Spain (the Guzman
    study) and other countries have discovered that it also has tumor-shrinking, anti-carcinogenic properties. These were confirmed by the 30-year Tashkin population study at UCLA.

    Drugs are man-made, cooked up in labs, for the sake of patents and the profits gained by them. Often useful, but typically burdened with cautionary notes and lists of side effects as long as one’s arm. ‘The works of Man are flawed.’

    Marijuana is a medicinal herb, the most benign and versatile in history. “Cannabis” in Latin, and “kanah bosm” in the old Hebrew scrolls, quite literally the Biblical Tree of Life, used by
    early Christians to treat everything from skin diseases to deep pain and despair. Why despair? Consider the current medical term for cannabis sativa: a “mood elevator”. . . as opposed to
    antidepressants, which ‘flatten out’ emotions, leaving patients numb to both depression and joy.

    The very name, “Christ” translates as “the anointed one”. Well then, anointed with what? It’s a fair question. And it wasn’t holy water, friends. Holy water came into wide use in the Middle Ages. In Biblical times, it was used by a few tribes of Greek pagans. But Christ was neither Greek nor pagan.

    Medicinal oil, for the Prince of Peace. A formula from the Biblical era has been rediscovered. It specifies a strong dose of oil from kanah bosom, ‘the fragrant cane’ of many uses– ink,
    paper, rope, nutrition. . . . It was clothing on their backs and incense in their temples. And a ‘skinful’ of medicinal oil could certainly calm one’s nerves, imparting a sense of benevolence and connection with all living things. No wonder that the ‘anointed one’ could gain a spark, an insight, a sense of the divine, and the confidence to convey those feelings to friends and

    I am appalled at the number of ‘Christian’ politicians, prosecutors, and police who pose on church steps or kneeling in prayer on their campaign trails, but cannot or will not face the
    scientific or the historical truths about cannabis, Medicinal Herb Number One, safe and effective for thousands of years, and celebrated as sacraments by most of the world’s major religions.

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