Israel To Provide Medical Cannabis Access Through Pharmacies
The United States Healthcare System has been criticized for decades now by both foreign and domestic media outlets. US healthcare costs more, offers less and operates more slowly than most, if not all, countries of comparison. A new, groundbreaking decision out of Israel further thrusts America into the subcategories of global health leadership. Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman has declared that Israeli dispensaries will now be allowed to dispense ‘prescription’ cannabis, under supervision of course. For Americans, the worst part of this is that Israel didn’t out research or out work the US, they simply acted upon common sense and their desire to be at the forefront of both thinking and medicine.
Language Of The Law
“Medical marijuana will be sold by pharmacies under an arrangement process, contingent on a prescription written only by a senior physician who has been trained for this specific purpose by the Health Ministry.” – Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman
First, you should notice the word pharmacies instead of dispensaries. Currently, Israel has only two dispensaries in operation to service over 21,000 licensed patients. Many Israeli’s have reported the procurement of their medicine to be a troublesome process, often causing them to ‘jump through hoops’ in hopes to obtain their cannabis. Instead of spending a good deal of time and money setting up a whole new system of dispensaries, Israel has sidestepped this issue by bringing in pharmacies that already serve the public and abide by substance control regulations. Genius Move.
That’s right, trained physicians have the authority to actually prescribe the medicine they feel is best suited for their patient.
The second big difference is ‘prescription’ instead of ‘recommendation’. That’s right, trained physicians have the authority to actually prescribe the medicine they feel is best suited for their patient. The impressive hypocrisy that still exists in America is that doctors are allowed to ‘recommend’ cannabis, but not prescribe it. That is because cannabis remains federally illegal, classified as a schedule 1 banned substance. In America, it is illegal for physicians to ‘prescribe’ a schedule 1 substance.
“But wait! Isn’t the schedule 1 classification category reserved for substances with NO medical benefit? Yes, that it what it was created for. So does that mean doctors are recommending drugs that have no medical benefit? Yes. Wait. What? I’m confused.” – Anyone outside the US who looks at our classification system
While Israel’s decision is certainly historically significant, it also shows that a progressive thought process can be successfully combined with the ambition to enact change when it makes sense. Bottom line, those in charge realized the current system needed to be amended, so they did the job they were put in office to do. They installed a system that made sense, and they did so in a timely manner. Both of these concepts seem to be foreign to the US (Ironic that a foreign concept is created by a foreign country? Maybe?)
“Today there are pharmacies that dispense all kinds of other drugs, like morphine, so since that has been organized, this can be organized as well.” – Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman
Banish the Black Market
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the cannabis black market will dissipate once legal distribution systems are put in place. The genius comes from recognizing this fact and enacting change accordingly. By placing the sale of medical cannabis under the supervision of pharmacies that are already fluent and compliant with drug regulations, Litzman acknowledges that the cannabis black market should be positively diminished.
“The moment it will be in pharmacies by prescription, we will make sure to wage an aggressive battle not to let it leak out. The growers will also be strengthened. The moment we issue a tender [for growers], it will become subject to a doctor’s prescription, and I’m sure it’ll be accepted.” – Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman
They installed a system that made sense, and they did so in a timely manner.
Non-Users Creating Change
Deputy Health Minister Litzman has never consumed cannabis. Heck, until last week he had never even touched cannabis or viewed it in person. Litzman, along with his fellow public officials, simply came to the conclusion that there is enough evidence to warrant patients access to medical cannabis. Not evidence from personal use, but from examples provided by real life cannabis consumers.
“The first time I saw marijuana was last week. I had never seen it before, and never touched it…Under instructions of the High Court of Justice, I am taking action on the matter, after having made sure not to engage in it myself in the past.” – Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman
Get the Message?
Israel didn’t come out with a widespread, ‘Cannabis Cures All’ message before deciding to provide better access and regulatory system for its citizens. Instead, their governing body realized that, while the exact science behind medical cannabis benefits is currently evolving, there is enough evidence to treat it like other well controlled, regulated pharmaceutical medicines.
Where we once were a country who stared down at the world as kings of the mountain, we now need binoculars to even catch a glimpse of the summit.
Can America do the same thing? Certainly. However, there are so many systems, regulatory agencies, governing bodies, financial interests etc. in America, policy change like this rarely happen faster than a snail’s pace, if at all. Until this issue is addressed and policy makers can act more swiftly, consciously and proactively the American Healthcare System will continue to tend downwards in the world rankings. Where we once were a country who stared down at the world as kings of the mountain, we now need binoculars to even catch a glimpse of the summit.
Do you think America should provide medical cannabis access through pharmacies? Why do you think America is so far behind other countries like Israel? Join the conversation and comment below!