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Scientist in Israel are moving clawing ahead with new clinical trials for Medical Marijuana in efforts to approve cannabis use for a variety of diseases. Hundreds of farmers, cannabis activist, and professionals descended this week for Cann10 International Medical Conference from September 11th – 13th.
Israel is a very well-known international herald in the in medical cannabis industry. It was just this summer that the government approved a plan for more extensive research and implementation. The plan, initiated by Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), called for an order to relax some of the medical cannabis requirements. The plan will expand the number of doctors who can issue cannabis prescriptions to patients, and remove limits on the number of marijuana growers. This ultimately will make cannabis available at approved pharmacies and eliminate the requirement for a permit from the Health Ministry so that just a doctor’s prescription will be sufficient to get medical marijuana.
“There’s no reason why someone who needs cannabis for medical reasons should suffer and confront unnecessary red tape, and therefore the present situation must be changed,” Litzman said in June, the Haaretz daily reported.
The Health Ministry’s move to make medical marijuana even more accessible is part of a larger effort to strengthen the support for Medical Marijuana from a patient standpoint and a medical context standpoint.
A Tikun Olam pharmacist assist a patient’s monthly medical marijuana prescription at the Tel Aviv dispensary (Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)
“This is the second [marijuana] conference in Israel in six months and it is evidence that Israel and the world are starting to wake up to what Israel can contribute to the cannabis industry,” said Clifton Flack, chief marketing officer for iCAN Israel-Cannabis, a private equity fund that focuses on cannabis.
Today, there are approximately 23,000 patients who have medical marijuana prescriptions in Israel, up from 10,000 in 2012 and it is rapidly growing. As trials continue to be conducted, and restrictions lessened, that number will continue to rise as marijuana is approved to treat more ailments. Is Israel proving to be the example other nations should follow? Only time will tell.