Cannabis in the Twilight Zone

Today’s cannabis wars reached beyond Rod Sterling’s imagination. Last week parents began to film their children seizing because the latest irresponsible moves of Israel’s Cannabis Authority threatened to put an abrupt end to life saving treatment. This made for some press that apparently led to some embarrassment. As usual, IMCA postponed the death sentences with some strange language about how the two suppliers who they planned to shut down on September 1 could continue for a while. This was the 5th or 6th (I lost count) time the announced “Reform” measures which sent all patients into a panic were postponed in the past two months.

On Friday afternoon our President Reuven Rivlin weighed in and said he wanted to have a talk with IMCA and Health Ministry Officials. The PM immediately said he too would join.

By today, Monday, the PM had outflanked the President, who postponed his activity while the PM had a look. But the PM’s look was delayed by the “security situation.”

Then later today we were treated to the following announcement, stated in a video by none less that the Vice-Minister of Health (Netanyahu is the Minister):

I paraphrase: “Look youse guys, you suppliers, it is all your fault. There are no products to buy in pharmacies because youse guys have purposely hogged all your grass to sell directly (the only way anything worked until the “Reform” in April) and are not providing to the pharmacies because youse guys make less dough there. So listen up, youse guys, if you don’t get all that weed to pharmacies and pronto, we good guys are gonna go after you, take away all your weed and put it in the pharmacies ourselves.”

No one I know was less than stunned. Up to this point it seemed clear that it was IMCA that was refusing to let the major producers supply the pharmacies, for all sorts of reasons that contradicted themselves. Now it was the producers who are sabotaging the marvelous well-meaning and responsible “Reform” because of greed! The government was going to “seize” all the weed for the patients from the suppliers!

This is just a report – you can’t make these things up! One understanding that is likely is that last week’s media coverage put IMCA and the Ministry under significant pressure. How that created this response is anyone’s guess.

At the same time a young cannabis activist died from a cancer that was reported to have been responding to “Rick Simpson” concentrated cannabis treatment when IMCA refused to allow her the amounts required for this treatment which was prescribed by her oncologist.. Her funeral is tomorrow.

Now it must be mentioned that the appeal to the High Court against the “Reform” points out that this is round two. Round One was stopped by the Court, that was the “Sarel” caper, a strange attempt to make one company the sole producer of medical cannabis. The “Green Book” of today’s so-called reform was actually found in Health Ministry files, according to the appeal, with the name “Sarel” on it! So something may be more than fishy here.

Today’s remake of some sort of John Wayne western mixed with the Godfather suggests that IMCA may have a lot to hide. The faker the news, the bigger the secret. It is not only all of our borders that are heating up.

Or else there may be some “dramatic” intervention into an artificially revved up crisis that may provide some electoral benefit. One report suggested that Netanyahu has been trying to get Feiglin out of the race, and a move in the cannabis quagmire could be part of it.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of “Milk, Honey and Weed.”

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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