Israel is once again pioneering new ground in the medical cannabis sphere.
Already boasting the largest number of per capita licenses for medical cannabis usage (24,000), today Israel enhanced their program by allowing wider access and more standardized procedures for both treatment and research. The much-anticipated, historic reform was passed by the the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, having been initiated by Health Minister Yaakov Litzman. The reform will institute several key changes to Israel’s medical cannabis program.
Here is a breakdown of the new policy changes:
1) Cannabis-based medications will be sold and distributed in pharmacies instead of by growers. Currently, the only other country with a similar model – albeit on a much smaller scale – is the Netherlands.
2) Calls to increase the number of physicians able to prescribe medical cannabis, as well as more staff to manage medical cannabis license issuance.
3) Standard physician prescriptions will be used for patients to acquire medical cannabis from a pharmacy. Previously, a special license was issued.
4) Opening up the market of approved grow operations in Israel. Currently, the number of grow operations is limited to eight – with another ten expected to be approved.
The Health Ministry outlines standard safety and quality parameters for all medical cannabis products. The Ministry of Finance has proposed that medical cannabis be exported globally, a potential market value of well over NIS 1 billion annually.