Israel Loses 15 Tons Of Medical Marijuana A Year


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An Israeli medical marijuana worker carries freshly harvested cannabis flowers

​Israel is a world leader in medical marijuana use, according to anesthesiologist and pain relief expert Dr. Bareket Schiff-Keren, who said as much in his testimony to the Knesset Committee on Drug Abuse on Tuesday. But there’s a problem with the system: about 15 tons of medicinal cannabis are stolen each year, according to police records.

Israel Police representative Eyal Zilberman told the committee that medical marijuana is being sold on the black market, and the fields to grow cannabis are not properly secured to prevent theft, reports Lahav Harkov at The Jerusalem Post.

Most medical marijuana fields do not meet police standards, according to Zilberman, who called the situation “bizarre.” He said some of the cannabis fields are near shopping malls and parks and have low fences, with no security cameras or locks.

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​”Anyone can come in and take what they want,” Zilberman said. “We warned the Health Ministry that they must close those fields, but nothing happened.”
MK Taleb a-Sanaa, chairman of the Committee on Drug Abuse, was frustrated that after two years of meetings on securing the medical marijuana fields, the problem still hasn’t been solved. He expressed fears that patient access to cannabis would be adversely affected.
“Those who are ill will pay the price for these problems,” he said.
Without government regulation, use of marijuana for medicinal purposes could lead to its general legalization, said Dr. Yehuda Baruch, who is responsible for coordinating the growth of the medical cannabis program.
But Baruch said he will not order a medical marijuana field closed unless the owner is indicted.
Another police representative complained that the cops have no way of enforcing the law related to marijuana fields. He voiced the opinion that it would be preferable for Israel to import cannabis, rather than growing it locally.
The Committee on Drug Abuse will “further investigate the subject,” and plans to visit a cannabis field in the coming months, according to A-Sanaa.
A-Sanaa said that while Israel could serve as a model for other countries on how to implement a medical marijuana program, the Health Ministry should not ignore the police, and should make sure that cannabis fields are “properly protected.”