The Israeli Health Ministry announced on May 16 that it would remove cannabis from the country’s Dangerous Drugs Ordinance list which would allow pharmacies to dispense it.
The move would allow doctors to issue regular prescriptions for medical cannabis like any other medication. It would also require government officials to alter Israel’s Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. Doctors would be able to prescribe up to 40 grams of cannabis to patients 18 and older.
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman made the distinction between medical and recreational cannabis in his announcement. “I have decided to adopt the position of Ministry of Health professionals to permit a prescription instead of a license for certain medical conditions where diagnosis is clear,” Litzman said. “I emphasize that this is not legalization, and individuals who are not medically authorized to use [cannabis] will not be able to receive the drug at the pharmacy. But this is a process that will make it significantly easier in terms of bureaucratic procedures for the sick.”
The changes won’t affect cannabidiol (CBD) products. A draft of the new medical cannabis regulations will be published soon, according to the Health Ministry.
Israel is far ahead in terms of medical cannabis compared to most other countries. “Israel is a leader in the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and this step is another stage in making it easier for patients and turning medical cannabis into a medical product like any other,” explained Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov. “We will continue to monitor its application and make it even easier for patients, while ensuring that those who need to receive it do so in the easiest way.”
The latest move furthers Israel’s path to one of the world’s best places for medical cannabis. Legitimizing the industry by allowing prescriptions helps to erase the stigma of yesteryear.