Israel Vaults Further Ahead of America with Medical Cannabis

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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

There are a couple of different languages to this new system in Israel that places them miles above cannabis legislation in America.

“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

Forward Thinking

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!

  • Gerry Bedore

    Do you think America should

    provide
    medical cannabis access through pharmacies?

    Yes, and
    through dispensaries, holistic

    medical
    shops, and others. I disagree with needing a prescription from a Senior

    Doctor in
    the U.S. The reason is Big Pharma owns the research in the US, owns

    the AMA,
    owns the medical schools, and drives how people think about medicine

    in
    America. The medical community should be driving their own bus. To think

    that
    Western Medicine is the only access Americans should have to understanding

    health
    and taking care of their lives is discounting everything else the world has

    to offer.

    Why do
    you think America is so far behind

    other
    countries like Israel? Big Pharma protecting their revenue

    streams
    and paying politicians to ensure they maintain a controlling position in the
    space. There are many more reasons but this is root of the problem along with
    the criminal justice system needing a means to generate revenue.

    To say
    that more research is needed is true but

    using
    this to discount what is already known is missing the mark. Israel has it

    right in
    this respect.

  • S Rowan Wilson

    The USA has compounding pharmacies. The laws governing such entities have been in existence well over a hundred years and go back centuries to Europe. Cannabis should be governed under such laws at the state and federal level, similar to any other apothecary. It is abysmal that even the most innocuous tinctures with substantive benefits found in other countries are prohibited by the FDA here in the States.

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