Historic Decision: Israel to Dispense Medical Marijuana At Pharmacies

Admitting to have never seen marijuana until last week, Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman, has decided that local pharmacies will be allowed to dispense prescription pot, under supervision, instead of the current inconvenience of only 2 locations in Israel.

By Yehuda Shlezinger & Israel Hayom Staff


Medical marijuana will soon be sold in pharmacies across Israel, Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman, who functions as the de facto health minister, announced on Monday during a Knesset committee meeting.

A licensed grower inspects medical marijuana plants in one of the greenhouses used to grow the drug in Israel

Marijuana will be sold to patients with prescriptions, and will be controlled like any other prescription medication. However, more doctors will be authorized to write prescriptions for medical marijuana, the deputy minister said.

“I am aware of the need to change the Health Ministry’s existing policy on the matter,” Litzman told the Knesset committee.

“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.

“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.”

Litzman voiced hope that the High Court of Justice would approve the cultivation of medical marijuana, pledging to “issue a tender for growers, which is currently being studied by the High Court of Justice.”

He said placing the sale of medical marijuana under the supervision of pharmacies would help combat the black-market phenomenon.

“The moment medical marijuana enters the pharmacies, we will take aggressive measures to ensure that it doesn’t get out,” Litzman said.

During the committee meeting, he conceded that marijuana was foreign to him personally.

“The first time I saw marijuana was last week. I had never seen it before, and never touched it,” he said.

“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.”

The surprising announcement was welcomed by many, including committee chairwoman MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), who has been active on this issue.

“This is an enormous change,” she said after the meeting.

Habayit Hayehudi MK Yinon Magal, who confessed to using marijuana in the run-up to the last election, told Israel Hayom, “I hope that the new process will truly bring the much-anticipated relief within a short period of time.”

Currently, medical marijuana is distributed by eight companies that grow the plants in Israel, and dispensed by only two bodies. Patients who rely on the drug for medical relief often complain of being forced to jump through hoops to obtain it.


View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=27161