Israel encourages use of medical marijuana
a security guard walks at Tikkun Olam medical cannabis farm, near the northern Israeli city of Safed, Israel. Marijuana is illegal in Israel but medical use has been permitted since the early 90s for cancer patients and those with pain-related illnesses (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
5 November 2012
Safed, Israel — Moshe Rute survived the Holocaust by hiding in a barn full of chickens. He nearly lost the use of his hands after a stroke two years ago. He became debilitated by recurring nightmares of his childhood following his wife’s death last year.
“But after I found this, everything has been better,” said the 80-year-old, as he gingerly packed a pipe with marijuana.
Rute, who lives at the Hadarim nursing home outside of Tel Aviv, is one of more than 10,000 patients who have official government permission to consume marijuana in Israel, a number that has swelled dramatically, up from serving just a few hundred patients in 2005.
The medical cannabis industry is expanding as well, fueled by Israel’s strong research sector in medicine and technology — and notably, by government encouragement. Unlike in the United States and much of Europe, the issue inspires almost no controversy among the government and the country’s leadership. Even influential senior rabbis do not voice any opposition to its spread, and secular Israelis have a liberal attitude on marijuana.
Now, Israel’s Health Ministry is considering the distribution of medical marijuana through pharmacies beginning next year, a step taken by only a few countries, including Holland, which has traditionally led the way in Europe in legalizing medical uses of the drug.
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From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121104/NATION/211040303#ixzz2BMXwIHYR