Israel is World’s Leading User of Medicinal Marijuana, Expert Says

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Medicinal marijuana, derived from the cannabis plant, is most widely used in Israel, expert says. Israel is the world’s leading user of medicinal marijuana, an expert on the matter testified before the Knesset Committee on Drug Abuse Tuesday.

Medicinal marijuana is planted in fields around Israel, and utilized to aid the ailing in hospitals around the country. The problem with the cannabis production rests in the dearth of safeguards in effect to prevent theft of the plant. According to Israeli police, almost 15 million tons of medicinal marijuana are stolen each year, and the large number stems from the fact that the fields are located in populated areas, surrounding by short fences, and are not locked nor viewed under the surveillance of a higher authority (except God, of course).

Reflecting on the “bizarre” situation, Eyal Zilberman, Israel Police representative, said, “Anyone can come in and take what they want. We warned the Health Ministry that they must close those fields, but nothing happened.”

For medical professionals, the government’s reluctance to repair the problem is not something that should be taken lightly.
“Those who are ill will pay the price for these problems,” said Committee chairman MK Taleb a-Sanaa.

Different opinions on how to resolve the ongoing problem have been voiced. Some have said that generally growing cannabis on Israeli soil is a foolish practice, since enforcement on the fields has been, and will remain, an elusive goal. According to this opinion, the best way to procure medicinal cannabis is by importing from abroad.

Others have cautioned the government to move fast before the situation gets out of hand. According to Dr. Yehuda Baruch, who spearheaded the program for growing the plant, the legalization of cannabis is inevitable if the government does not step in to limit the number of users. The Committee chairman implored the Health Ministry to work with the police to ensure theft is ended and fields are protected.

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