An urgent green letter to our new PM

Dear General Ganz,

I write to you in the name of 50,000 Israeli citizens who are recognized as requiring cannabis products for urgent medical reasons. I personally treat or have contact with about 1000.

The State of Israel has become a shameful example of abuse of the medically ill and disabled. While the State recognizes the need for medical cannabis, the same State, through its Health Ministry, wantonly restricts access of these citizens to the cannabis products they need. Many, Sir, are your former comrades in arms, whose need to treat the PTSD they incurred while risking life and limb for their country is treated in a shameful and abusive manner by this same country. I am sure you will agree that such a situation in simply intolerable, even for a moment.

I trust you may be aware that Israel is now the only country in the world whose medical cannabis patients have found need to appeal to the Supreme Court in protest of the irresponsible and harmful programs of the Israel Medical Cannabis Authority and its Director, one Magister Yuval Landschaft. And I trust that you know that the Supreme Court was highly critical of many of IMCA’s moves. I am sorry to inform you that IMCA continues to try to fly under the Court’s radar, misleading the Court that all is fine while patients daily post their suffering and frustration with the “Reform” that Magister Landschaft has imposed upon them. In short, IMCA has de facto denied 50,000 suffering citizens reliable access to their medication.

Perhaps you may wish to know that this stuation has been brewing for years, and even prior to the “Reform” IMCA was guilty of unacceptable practices. IMCA requires all patients to suffer for months or years of useless or harmful treatments before a citizan can even apply for a license. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to justify arbitrarily denying citizens access to the best medical practioce that they need. You may wish to know that your troops who suffered PTSD in Zuk Eitan were kept from medical cannabis for three years because IMCA decreed that only after three years could one apply, a decree in absolute contradiction to all medical experience. IMCA wantonly and arbitrarily determined the doses a patient could receive and regularly overruled the opinion of the treating physician without examining the patient. This, Sir, contitutes a medical crime in every other branch of medical practice.

Sir, I suggest that IMCA has proven that the State of Israel cannot adequately and responsibly monitor a medical cannabis program. Since the State recognizes the medical efficacy of cannabis, it cannot keep the cannabis from its citizens. As well, the recognizion of medical cannabis effectively and logically reschedules cannabis: it cannot be Schedule One, which by definition is a substance with no medical use.

At least 50,00 disabled Israelis, and probably many multiples of that number, now turn their eyes to you for a new start.

What they need is legalization of cannabis, period.

Just like many other parts of the world, they will find a way to treat their symptoms on the open market. Legalization decreases traffic accidents by decreasing alcohol consumption, and has never led to a negative impact on youth. These are the facts which of course the now dicredited War On Drugs claimed to be impossible. Perhaps you know that an appendix to the USA Forreign Aid Bill, in 1973, I believe, imposed on recipients criminalization just like in the USA. Surely you recall what aid Israel required in 1973. Cannabis was criminilized here by fiat, without any public discourse. The source of the fiat is changing, and now is the time for Israel to correct this monumental and harmful blunder.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis turn their eyes to to your new government to  legalize marijuana immediately.

In addition, a different medical unit could stay in place to regulate medical use on the condition that it is subsidized, as in Germany. A full investigation of Magister Landschaft and the damage he has caused would bring some peace of mind to the patients he has been torturing.

And I can promise you many many invitations to legalization parties.

About the Author
Alan Flashman was born in Foxborough, MA, and gained his BA from Columbia, MD from NYU, Pediatrics, Adult and Child Psychiatry specialties at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, The Bronx, NY. He has practiced in Beer Sheba since 1983, and taught mental health at Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and Ben Gurion University. He is currently CEO of Family Instiute of Neve Yerushalyim, sponsoring a first fully accredited post-masters training in family therapy for the Haredi community. Alan has edited readers on Therapeutic Communication with Children (2002) and Adolescents (2005) in Hebrew, translated Buber's I and Thou anew into Hebrew, and authored Losing It, an autobiography, and From Protection to Passover.
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