The use of Medical Marijuana in Israel has been technically legal since 1999. But in a country known for its bureaucratic labyrinths and where much of the populace seems to have formed its understanding of Marijuana from repeated viewings of Reefer Madness, how does “technically legal” play itself out? However, with the negative, imagine of marijuana means that even with its legalization there are still people who still believe that it still a legal drug. This means there are some who try to find low smelling strains to keep their discretion, with some places like Green Bud Guru having a list of some of the best low smell strains to help marijuana users to enjoy their pastime discreetly.
The United States and Canada have made marijuana legal for medicinal purposes, allowing citizens to use CBD oil in vape carts to treat a number of ailments, which as inflammations, anxiety etc. Marijuana users are always allowed, while in the strict containment of the law, to grow their own plants for personal use, creating a new enterprise within the United States and Canada in the form of growing tools for marijuana farms such as growing tents, inline fans for cannabis and lights as well as other products.

Haaretz Correspondent, Haim Shadmi, has written a great, in depth article about the confusing situation faced by patients who use Medical Marijuana to treat a host of ailments from Tourettes’ Syndrome to Cancer. It has a great cast of characters including the one Doctor in Israel authorized to prescribe Marijuana, the former pill popping raver authorized by the Ministry of Health to grow Medical Marijuana, Yossi Bozaglo, one of the first patients to be prescribed marijuana, who was tried in 2001 for buying marijuana from a drug dealer (!), a guy called “Angel face” who provides marijuana to patients for free and the Doctors of course:

When Cannabis was approved for medicinal purposes in 1999, it was originally intended for terminal cancer and AIDS patients. Today it is being used in earlier stages of illness and for a wider array of diseases, including Parkinson’s, Tourette Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain and shell shock. The medical establishment is also increasingly recognizing Cannabis’ effectiveness in treating illness.

At the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital’s Bone Marrow Transplantation department, patients including children and babies are treated using drops of oil derived from Cannabis. “It has no side effects and is largely effective in treating patients,” said department chief, Professor Reuven Or. “I would say it is effective in 80 percent of patients, which is a lot.”

Professor Or continued, “It stimulates the appetite and minimizes nausea and vomiting, which is of great importance in Oncology. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps in cases of infection or inflammation caused by radiation. Along with this, Cannabis eases the coping process for patients – it improves their morale and lowers depression, and these are important parameters for patients battling disease.”

Half of the patients being treated with Cannabis are Oncology patients, while about a quarter suffer from chronic pain.

But Medical Marijuana, while legal and effective and used by about 2000 patients, is not covered by Israel’s HMOs. Angel face provides it for free but the current situation is not tenable. The Health Ministry is planning on opening 5-6 new grow houses, but in the meantime “grass” roots organizations are providing patients with the weed they need. The article discusses the potential profits that operators of these grow houses might make and is a fascinating look at how things in Israe work despite everything.

About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

54 Comments

  • A friend of mine was getting this in his last few weeks before the ‘c’ disease took him. He told me about an unmarked clinic in Tel Aviv which was decorated like a comfy living room and totally unlike a waiting room. He got his legal shit from the clerk and toked up. The idea is to make the patient feel really comfortable. The joints were pre-rolled. It helped a bit, but it had spread to his stomach and he was not eating anymore. May his memory be blessed.

  • I am really conflicted about this – not marijuana, but the whole issue of legalizing drug use.

    On the one hand, the war on drugs has been a failure by any measure, and driving drug trafficking underground has created terrible – and powerful – international crime syndicates.

    On the other hand, legalizing drugs is not a solution I can agree with as a Jew who feels responsible for their fellow humans. Much of the accommodation and “treatment” of addicts in places where drugs are legalized is false charity – there is nothing noble in leaving someone addicted, but making sure they have clean needles.

    The real solution is to make sure more people are raised with positive self-image, personal strength, and community bonds – so that they don’t have to turn to drugs.

  • To Ben-David,
    I am not trying to be inflammatory but I have to say I am not sure what your post pertains to. The article clearly defines that the cannabis is being used as a medicine. Is it possible that you still equate any kind of use as abuse?

    Your response is very moving but I would simply like to know if you truly feel that cannabis is as addictive and life destroying as, say, heroin. Most of the world feels as you do and agrees with you but for one exception, cannabis. Cannabis should not be lumped in with heroin, cocaine, and other “hard” drugs.

  • The Netherlands are turning more strict on the issue as since the legalization of marijuana, heroin-abuse and related crimes have risen drastically. I suppose it’s the thrill of the forbidden that gets people into using, so legalization has backfired into the wrong direction.

    Smoking pot can be devastating to a healthy person’s health. Only recently the results of long-time studies have been available that had shocking results. Just to name two examples, a student of mine destroyed his concept of himself through smoking pot (depersonalization); he’s not aware of what emotions he displays and he cannot control his expression of emotions. A friend of mine was determined unfit for his teaching profession as occasional pot use has put him in a state of permanent anxiety and depression.

    Medical marijuana is supposed to ease the pain of terminally ill people, but that doesn’t make it harmless or as good as harmless for healthy people.

  • Who on earth is talking about any of that? This post is about medical marijuana. Abusing anything can have a detrimental affect on one’s life. As a society we allow adults to make informed decisions about alcohol consumption or driving cars and how many lives have been utterly destroyed as a result? But again, this post is about marijuana administered under a doctor’s care to people who are ill. Anyone have a problem with that?

  • as a random note – in one of my psych classes in undergrad my professor was obsessed with natural cannabinoids that exist in our brain. His thought was that since we already have it in our bodies, we might as well get additional THC

  • I was replying to Ben-David, CK. The fact that medical marijuana has been used on non-terminally ill patients does raise the question of where to draw the line.

    Arielle, human bodies contain / can produce all kinds of things, e.g. lactaic acid, I’d not necessarily add to. Though some people that are full of crap weren’t born that way. 😉

  • I have a good friend who advise local LA dispensaries on being legit and in compliance with all the complex laws of running a pot distribution business legally.

    I will suggest that he branch out to Israel.

    One of the major glitches is getting stuff to those who need it.

    There are 350+ dispensaries now in LA, and the city realizes that it has no way of regulating it.

    SF has only 30 and they pay 10k a year.

  • Froylein, Cheebs, and CK –

    I don’t think pot is any more damaging or addictive than alcohol. Most people are able to maintain reasonable recreational use. Some people have problems that lead them to dependency/abuse.

    (Knowing what we do about smoking’s effect on the body, there are probably healthier ways to dose people with cannabinoids than smoking ’em.)

  • Cheebs wrote:
    Cannabis should not be lumped in with heroin, cocaine, and other “hard” drugs.
    – – – – – – – –
    … but for the minority that is driven to quiet internal demons, cannabis is a gateway to other substances. This is a widely proven pattern.

    As a youth counselor I know says: Not every one who smokes a “nargila” (hashish pipe) becomes a drug addict – but almost every drug addict started with nargila.

  • i agree that it isn’t the same as heroin, cocaine and ‘hard’ drugs. I don’t think it’s a soft drug either. It can be a “gateway” drug, like they tell us in health class, but it’s dependent on the person. In the same way, the effect of pot is different for each person. I’ve never met anyone who ends up in a life of depression and anxiety because they smoke. They often have those issues before they use. but to the point of medinal uses – what does it matter? if it makes someone with chronic pain, cancer or any terminal illness feel better…who is it hurting?

  • “Not every one who smokes a ‘nargila’ (hashish pipe) becomes a drug addict – but almost every drug addict started with nargila.”

    1. A nargilah is NOT a hashish pipe. It is water pipe primarily used for smoked flavored tobacco.

    2. Not everyone who rides in a car swerves off the road and hits a tree. But everyone who’s swerved off the road and hit a tree was driving.

  • Correction: Not everyone who rides in a car swerves off the road and hits a tree. But everyone who’s swerved off the road and hit a tree was in a car.

  • B-D, the problem with alcohol is that it’s widely socially acceptable, particularly over here, where legal drinking age was only recently raised from 16 to 18, alcohol is offered at about any social function but AA meetings etc. I read the other day that a person that drinks five alcoholic beverages per week already qualify as a “heavy drinker”.

    Arielle, the emotional dependencies pot creates have long been proved, and the danger, like with alcohol, is that you cannot tell when the dependency will kick in. The effects on the psyche could also sufficiently be proved, and not all are tied to habital use. A study from Switzerland published last year or the year before last indicated that pot smoking leads to a much higher risk of pulmonary emphysema, too.
    Another thought worth considering is that many US states’ laws don’t permit organ transplants to go to drug users (not necessarily habitual ones) as their chance of “accepting” the new organ is way lower than that of non-users.

  • Come on now. Marijuana IS less dangerous than 99% of what is in your super market. The fact that it’s still illegal in most countries is sad. Here(Canada) you can handle firearms from a very young age, drive a killing machine at age 16, get wasted at 18, and are pumped full of harmful “foods” from the day you’re born. But no… you still can’t toke.

    /rant

  • But everybody makes me suffer the consequences of the actions of those who do, including higher health insurance rates for everybody, noticeably selfish, paranoid & imbalanced behaviour among frequent and former users etc. The assumption that it does not affect anyone but the user is plain out wrong, and as soon as one’s deliberate actions affect society negatively, there is an element of antisocial indifference that society may question whether it has to put up with.

  • froylein, you seem to be showing signs of “noticeably selfish, paranoid & imbalanced behaviour”

    while your clearly not intelligent, you may be high!

  • I am saddened but not suprised to see these comments. Saddened because one naturally assumes most respondants are Jewish, not suprised though because this is an English language site.

    If you care to study Judaisim, especially in its native languages of Hebrew and Aramaic you will find that Jews have been using cannabis and opium for more than 3000 years. It has also been found in the archaeological record as well (Cannabis used in child birth during the Herodian Era).

    As for “recreational use,” ditto. Ashkenazim have less traditional usage but even there it can be found. Of course those living in the West would probablly not have much experience with “things Jewish.”

    Neither context is in violation of Jewish Law OR Jewish Tradition.

  • medical marijuana has nothing to do with drug use. In 5 years of research we (MDRA) have not found a single negative affect that we could prove besides breathing problems wich do not have to do with the marijuana but the smoking it (you can eat it vaporize it or drink it
    for those commenting about marijuana being a gateway drug. tobacco and alchol are the leading gateway drugs. marijuana is only a gateway drug social understanding that is connecting marijuana and drugs(achol,tobaco,haroin) but a weed is not a drug it is a gift from our world to us with no changes made to it

  • Ironically enough lots of researchers could determine tons of negative effects of marijuana use. That it is used to suppress pain in terminally ill cancer patients (on who the long-term effects of use could never ever seriously be proved unless a miracle healing were to take place, so comparing their cases to those of common users is a pretty non-scientific ground to argue from) should not lead one to the pretty apparently false conclusion that it’s actually healthy.

  • Fraulein,

    Most of your claims so far have at best been wildly inaccurate, some of them plain out false, and all of them unfounded and without any sources. But I guess we should all just take your word for it. Its all Kosher.

    Please allow me to fill you in on some facts. You claim for example that, “The Netherlands are turning more strict on the issue as since the legalization of marijuana, heroin-abuse and related crimes have risen drastically.”

    This is a obvious misrepresentation. The Netherlands are NOT debating criminalizing the use of marijuana, as this is the only part of the trade which is fully legal. The Netherlands have the lowest use of Heroin in all of western europe, and due to a heroin maintenance program also have the longest living, healthiest heroin addicts in the world. Crime rates amongst users have never been better, and since the state provides it for free to hard users, its not profitable for criminal gangs thus removing it from the street market and curbing new recruitment. The ongoing debate is about how to deal with so called “drug tourists” who travel to Holland for the sole purpose of smoking marijuana, thus providing great revenue to a illigal market. There is discussion around making coffeeshops that sell marijuana into a members-only, as this would cut off most tourists, but no one is talking about refusing anydbody living in Holland the right to smoke cannabis legaly. The coffeshop system was designed to seperate the “soft-drugs” from the “hard-drugs” by tolerating the sale and use of some natural drugs like marijuana and mushrooms, and banning other chemical drugs like cocaine and heroin. It has in such been a profound success, as The Netherlands enjoy some of the best numbers in all of Europe concerning amounts of use of all drugs (including marijuana) in the population. It has less teenage use, and lower per capita use than all its surronding nations. The problem is that The Netherlands has signed international treaties that makes it allmost impossible to legalize cannabis completely, so all though coffeshops can legaly sell marijuana to anyone over 18, the actual production and wholesale part of the supply chain of the business is still illigal. This fuels a drug trade, which by design, can only be run by criminals.
    Tourists swamping in from all over the world to enjoy the freedoms they can not at home, are leaving so much money behind that the state can no longer can ignore the massive amounts of money that are going directly to the mafias of the world, and therefore they want to make them members-only, and are discussing trying out small legal grows, to fill the legal gap.
    You see, the problem is the crime. Marijuana is probably the safest substance on earth, and poses no real danger to anybody. It does NOT make you physicly dependable, and there is NO real documentation on any serious long term effects. Quite the opposite,there is plenty of medical documentation describing the medical uses and potential of THC. Wikipedia provides links to a LOT of serious documentation of that fact. I strongly suggest you read some of it. I’ll even provide you a link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_marijuana

    We allready allow the use of Morphine in medical treatment. Mprphine is a Opiate so strong Heroin was originally developed as a cure for its addiction. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroin)
    We give pills including amphetamin to little kids with ADD.(Ritalin) Cocaine is used in local anestetics.
    Most drugs have a medical use, as do they have potential of abuse. You claim that if an item is potentially dangerous it should automaticly be against the law. Take a look outside your window. I bet you can see at least 10 things that are potetially dangerous but still legal. If you can’t, take a better look, lean a bit further.
    I hope you live in the tenth floor.

    Three cheers for Israel for recognising the medical potential of cannabis, and from there actually do something about it. This needs to come out more in the open, and turned into a completly legal business, so people can see for them selves that the wild claims of people like frauline is nothing more than riddiculous fearmongering from people who dont know what they’re talking about.

    Here is an article from The economist about why we need to reconsider prohibition.

    http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13237193

    • Wonder whether the return to more stringency has been making the news for months then.

      As for the medical effects, it takes a great deal of agenda-driven bias to blatantly ignore all studies the results of which have been published over the past few years that prove such effects not only exist but also are highly likely to kick in. Alas, there is no need to point this out to an obvious user.

  • Froylein:You are not making sense. If you drink too much water you can die (water intoxication). MODERATION. Our People have TRADITIONALLY used this plant for thousands of years.

    When b’nei Ya’akov were going down into Goshen during the famine, packing their caravan to bring gifts for the vizier, who unbeknownst to them was their brother Yosef, what did Ya’akov rush out and tell them as an after thought? he gave them both opium and opiated wine (usually mistranslated into English as “laundanum”) as a “special gift” for Yosef.

    For goodness sakes, we are a People who are COMMANDED to get high on Purim, Pesaach, Simchat Torah and a number of other lesser (in terms of the Mitzvah) times. Alcohol IS A DRUG.Indeed, it is alot worse for you than cannabis is and for the record, I myself do NOT use it. I simply hate to see misinformation about our faith and our culture.

  • Froylein: I will seriously ask you this question: Should society ban water because if taken incorrectly it can kill?

    When a fool kills a family with a van we do not move to outlaw General Motors, we deal with the fool.

    • I will seriously give you this answer: A substance not vital to your existence, unlike water, and at any rate toxic with sufficiently proven incalcuable risks should be banned or, in this case, confined to highly restricted medical use as in easing the pains of those that are bound to die rather soon. Alcohol is accepted in the West as it is a social drug. Those societies were marijuana was a social drug corrupted themselves to the degree of extinction. Just because some legendary figures millennia back used drugs in religious ceremony does not justify common drug use and does not make people like me having to bear the rising cost of health insurance legitimate. Judaism does not command you to get high; that’s an urban legend and a picky reading of the development of the liturgy / rites of certain holidays. If it takes you getting high to appreciate creation, then you’re a lousy believer to begin with.

  • froylein, thank God it’s you and not some imposter!

    I don’t know if water can kill you. But I do know that love is like oxygen: you get too much you get too high, not enough and you’re gonna die.

  • Of course it’s me, Tom. Why would anybody fake me?

    Too much water can kill you as your stomach’s only got a limited capacity (average about 4,000ccm), but regular potable water won’t intoxicate you. If you consume only just water for an extended period of time, you’ll turn malnourished. And if you fill your stomach on water and don’t eat, low blood sugar and dizziness, which some might mistake for intoxication, can be short-term consequences.

  • Froylein: You stated unequiovocally that cannabis contravenes halacha because it is harmful. I correctly pointed out to you that not only is it specifically permitted
    and mentioned in the Torah, but that your belief that cannabis is non-sensical in that just as with water, the danger comes with the loss of moderation.

    Your reply? (Paraphrasing) “Water is part of the body and essential to its existence where as cannabis is NOT.” I suggest that you familiarise yourself with the constituents in cannabis and (some of) their endoagenous counterparts.

    As for your belief that cannabis has “proven incalcuable risks,” that is absolutely incorrect (politely put). What “risks” are you even talking about? If anything, YOUR views would harm people given the absolutely PROVEN medical benefits afforded to sufferers of Glaucoma, AIDs patients, chemotherapy patients, and a myriad of other very serious and debilitating medical conditions.

    In terms of recreational usage…I suggest you talk to a few policemen in any country you wish and ask them how many cannabis smokers they have even HEARD of who have committed violent crimes while intoxicated only on cannabis. Then ask them the same question concerning alcohol.

    You offered that you and others are passively effected (adversely) by cannabis usage. How would this ever bw possible? People are not going to be getting into elevators with you as they smoke water pipes. If an adult chooses of their own free will to use a G-D given plant, more power to them.

    No offence but your statement that cannabis is used to “reat pain in cancer patients” belies a very real ignorance as to the entire issue. It is used in cancer patients to combat naseau and to promote appetite, both issues for which the US Federal Government ALLOWS legal usage (they have a Federal farm in Mississippi).
    If you have even this most very basic fact incorrect, or perhaps confused, is it not at least possible that there just may be other aspects in the situation which may warrant a second or even third look?

    I do not presume to know you, nor your life experience BUT IF G-D forbid you had to watch a loved one wasting away on chemotherapy, would you know want to try and do anything at all to restore some quality of life?

    IF YOU do not like it FOR YOU, no problem but to try and deny succor to others, well that too is an issue in Halacha.

    “Those societies where cannabis was a social drug corrupted themselves into extinction.”: Name any society where this has even come close to happening to.

    As I have told you, IT IS CUSTOMARY AMONGST JEWS. We are the oldest continuous civlisation on the planet but let us negate subjective bias in hopes of truly exploring this issue with as much truth as humanly possible; Several cultures in India all of which still exist? Igorot in northern Luzon in the Philipines? Berbers? Arabs of Beka’a? Upper Egyptians?

    Indeed, the Romans and Greeks went overboard with alcohol, if anything so that your claim is 100% incorrect.

    I will continue in a bit…

  • Froylen: Because of concerns over possible character limits I decided to finish my reply in this 2nd posting, because I definiteely feel te need to spcifically adress your statements over “Urban Legends” and “Selective Reading of Halacha.”

    I was educated at Rebbe Teitz in the US and Merkaz HaRav in Yerushalyim so I have a tad bit familiarity with Halacha. However, the instruction to get high is so ery basic that 10 charedi boys know of it already. Your Western mentality believes the instruction to “drink 4 large cups of wine,” or to” drink so much that one cannot discern between blessed Mordechai and cursed Haman” has nothing to do with “getting high.” Of course, as a female, it is highly probable that you have very ittle if any familiarity with issues of Halacha.

    Lest you misconstrue the laste sentence as some sort of chauvinistic dig, Judaisim teaches that women have very little to do in terms of formal observance. They are fully equal under G-D, but have different roles to play. Men are strapped with the full onus of Observance and Ritual.

    In the West, since Haskalah, there have been various movements (Reform, Liberal, Conservative, Masorti, Reconstructionist, Renewal, Humanist, etc.) that fool themselves and their adherents into believing that that it is perfectly fine to approach spirituality, and life, as a buffet. Picking and choosing attributes that personaly suit them while ignoring that they find too onerous.

    I do not want to embark upon screeds about unrelated subjects. Just to say that at the very, very least, you should research this issue FULLY before making definative statements about what does and does not constitute Judaism and Halacha.

    “If it takes intoxicants to appreciate Creation…”: Judaisim is perhaps the one faith most in tune with human nature. It understands the need for outlets, whether it is intoxicants, sex,gambling. The issue is the degree to which one indulges in such pursuits, as well as how they act while doing so.

    Judaisim is NOT about denying human nature and lest you imagine that intoxicants are NOT integral to human nature, do a little exercise. Find a single culture, anywhere in documented history where one intoxicant or another was not used commonly.

    Rather than deny inherent human nature, Judaisim allows indulgence but channels it into positivity, into worship and community. If you would like pages and pages of Halachic referral, let me know and I will be happy to provide it.*

    *There are in fact 2 intertwined issues, medical usage and non-medical usage. BOTH are fully permitted.

    “People like Froylen must bear the higher cost of health insurance.”: Tell me, do you smoke tobbacco? Drink alcohol? Eat trans-fats? Are you in perfect physical shape? Do you ALWAYS drive the speed limit? Do you ever talk on your cell phone while driving? I would help you get the point by now. People smoking cannabis do not adversely effect YOUR premiums anymore than you adversely effect theirs.

    It sounds as if you are implying that people who smoke cannabis would not even be insured but despite your other comments I cannot imagine you thinking such a thing.

  • Rachmamim, sorry, I’ve explained it all above. If you do not even care to read and try to understand what I said, striking up a twisted concept of human biology and a selective understanding of halacha and history at that, there’s no point in me in addressing all your false claims and your odd misquotations and lame attempts at condescension.

  • Froyline: No, you have NOT explained it all above. You have let out your ignorance for the world to see.
    Come on, your not even trying. At least try to refute any of rachamim ben ami’s arguments. I don’t think you can.

    I will not claim to know you, but you strike me as a very conservative and arrogant person. Some of the things you say seem to have been written down in anger, and it doesn’t seem like you’ve actually given any thought to what kind of arguments you’re using, and expecting anyone to take seriously.

    You say that ALL potentially dangerous substances should be banned. Have you really given that much thought? Did you know that regularly sold headache pills are responsible for more overdose-deaths than all illegal drugs and alcohol overdoses each year? That is a fact! Should we ban paracetamol?
    Have you even considered what would happen to organised crime if we banned alcohol or tobacco? The U.S.A tried it in the twenties with alcohol, and Al Capone happened.
    You see, when a state bans something that a lot of people desire, it doesn’t remove the substance from the face of the earth, it mearly drives everyone involved underground, and creates a market that can only be run by criminals. The crime and social destruction caused by prohibition greatly outweighs any damage ANY drug could ever do to a society. Today, criminal gangs are making Billions of tax free dollars each year on criminalised drugs, and is recognised by the U.N. as the 3rd most profitable trade world-wide, only beaten by Oil and the illegal weapons trade. The gangs reinvest in other (often more violent) crime, and corrupt the legal and political system, in countries like mexico so much that they are on the brink of sivil war. It is the crime we should be afraid of, not by the prospect of free adults smoking a joint and watching a movie eating cheese doodles on a friday night if they choose to do so.
    Marijuana is already far more available today than it would be if it was regulated. Today, there is no age-limit restricting kids, it can be (and is) secretly sold at at any place at any time of the day. There is no quality control, (these drugs could be a lot safer) and the state can not collect tax on it.
    Harsh penalties have proven NOT to deter use in any satisfactual way, as the ones who wish to use them find a way to do so anyway. I do not understand why we should use the national police force to wage war on normal non-violent citizens, when it only encourages a criminally run black market, and fails to keep anyone who wishes to use drugs from doing so. There is no logic to it. Prohibition is a failed policy. PROVEN in every country who has tried it not to work. The drugs are already here, and have been all along. The ones who do them just simply keep away from people like you, and probably will continue to do so after legalisation.

    You have to learn that just because some people choose to do (at least in your outspoken opinion) bad choices, it does not give you the right to prohibit them to do so in a free society, as long as they are not hurting anyone. A marijuana smoker has no victim. Marijuana will not make you violent or crazy, or make you do other criminal activities. Your claims that marijuana smoking have proven long term effects are simply factual errors, but in the big picture it doesn’t even matter as the consequences of prohibition does far more damage to society as a whole even if your claims where true anyway.

    I would like to strongly reccomend you check out http://www.leap.cc – law enforcement agains prohibition – an organisation of former and present police officers and judges, all who have been involved in, but are now against the war on drugs.

    http://www.leap.cc

    • Read. Closely. Try to understand. Refrain from misquoting.

      BTW, being labelled conservative doesn’t hit me as an insult. I’d rather be conservative than to buy into to the meak arguments of drug traders. FYI, since the Netherlands and Switzerland have decriminalised marijuana, the number of heroin-related crimes has gone up.

  • So you claim, but it is a lie.
    In fact, the complete opposite is true, and I can prove it.

    In countries that have decriminalised marijuana, heroin use, and “heroin-related” crime, as you put it, has gone DOWN.
    But don’t take my word for it, please read the U.N and E.U drug statistics yourself.

    http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/WDR-2009.html

    http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/annual-report/2008

    A good example of this is Portugal. They decriminalised ALL drugs in 2001, and have since seen a dramatic fall in overall drug use, and drug related crime. In this newly published report by the highly acclaimed Beckley foundation and DrugScope,
    HARD FACTS prove decriminalisation to be a success.
    You can read the report online here:

    http://74.125.77.132/search?q=cache:PN5Owttyq34J:www.idpc.net/php-bin/documents/BFDPP_BP_14_EffectsOfDecriminalisation_EN.pdf.pdf+drug+decriminalisation+in+portugal&cd=3&hl=no&ct=clnk&gl=no&client=firefox-a

    It is also available as a downloadable pdf file at the top of the page.

    Time Magazine wrote an interesting article about it that sum up the important parts.

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html

    Your claim(s) simply make no sense. And the hard facts prove you not only wrong, but you’ve got it all backwards. Why would heroin-related crime go up if we stopped arresting responsible adults for smoking marijuana? Answer me this! How is that logic? There is only one thing that is comparable between the two substances – the fact that they are both illegal. remove the illegality, and what you have left are two very different substances indeed. The “stepping stone” theory has been denounced by all serious drug scholars for a very long time, so please, no need in even trying to repeat this old myth.

    The Dutch tolerate marijuana smoking precisely to separate the soft drugs market from the hard drug dealers, and have done so with great success.
    Heroin use in the Netherlands is amongst the lowest in all of Europe, this is mostly attributed to marijuana smokers not coming in contact with dealers offering them harder drugs when they buy marijuana.
    But maybe more surprisingly, cannabis use (especially amongst teens) is among the lowest in Europe as well, and far lower than in for example prohibitionist Norway, with maybe the harshest drug laws in Europe, and the highest amount of heroin users in the world.
    Under prohibition, it is the same criminal gangs that sell ALL of the drugs, making it a lot more likely for a lot more people to ever come in contact with the harder drugs in the first place.

    Even the U.S.A are slowly backing out on the war on drugs, the country that started it all. In the last 13 years, 14 US states have legalised medical marijuana, and today, more than half of the american population live in a state that has relaxed or completely decriminalised they marijuana laws. Marijuana is here to stay, and you can’t make it disappear even with the most brute force. Think about it, you can still get it even in countries that kill you for having it. Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, all these countries execute and/or torture people for using drugs, but Amnesty International still report new cases every month. If this was so effective, why hasn’t drug use stopped there by now?

    • Before you claim lies, educate yourself. Heroin use and related crimes have risen in the Netherlands and Switzerland since decriminalisation; the Netherlands certainly do not consider it a success otherwise their lawmakers wouldn’t be waging options of returning to a stricter take on drugs. Also, maybe you thought I wouldn’t / hadn’t read the EU report on drugs; it clearly states that drug use related crimes (purchase & possession) have gone down in Norway and Slovenia, but have risen in the rest of the EU by 51% on average; crimes related to drugs (as in getting money for drugs, prostitution etc.) have risen by almost 50%. You might think that those tendencies are only minimal, but let me assure you, 50% is a lot. The lure is the forbidden fruit. By legalising drugs, the only thing you achieve is making criminals socially acceptable. (The number of heroin users in the EU has slightly gone down, but the number of cocaine users has skyrocketed.) Drug traffickers do not have any other person’s welfare on their mind when they sell their stuff. The reason why drug use has not stopped in countries were drug trafficking is punished by death penalty is that addicts tend to believe themselves smarter than they usually are and are incapable of seeing the consequences of their drug use. (This is also the conclusion the EU report draws, which therefore highlights the importance of education, prevention, and joined, international efforts to bust drug trafficking, not to decriminalise it.) Drug use in these countries has gradually gone down since such extreme measures were started to be taken. Funny though, it appears that all politicians that favour decriminalising drug purchase or consumption seem to have a history of substance abuse themselves. Just sayin’.

  • “Heroin use and related crimes have risen in the Netherlands and Switzerland since decriminalisation”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.
    This is getting ridiculous. I give you the links to official reports you now claim to have read, and you still try to get away with making up numbers. Hopefully, the other readers of this debate will take the time to read them themselves, and see straight threw your LIES.

    “drug use related crimes (purchase & possession) have gone down in Norway and Slovenia, but have risen in the rest of the EU by 51% on average; crimes related to drugs (as in getting money for drugs, prostitution etc.) have risen by almost 50%”

    It is a cold fact that The Netherlands have amongst the lowest levels of heroin use in the world, it has slowly been dropping year by year, and the average heroin user in Holland is about 20 years older than an average heroin user in Norway. Which btw is my country of residence, so I also know for a fact that we have the highest number of users of heroin in the world. And that we arrest roughly the same amount of illegal drug users each year. (10 000 – 13 000) So NO, there has not been a drop in users.
    This year there has been a national debate about following the Dutch, the Danish, The Swiss, and the Germans in allowing Heroin maintenance programs, as these have had a proven positive effect on crime, health and recruitment in the countries who have tried them, and it seems very likely that it will be a part of the official state drug program by next year, depending on the result of Septembers election. I would attach links to document, but they are all in Norwegian, so I don’t think that would help you much.
    But where do you get a 51% average rise of drug use for the remaining countries? Your pulling numbers out of thin air! Tell me where these reports say this, or please send me a link to ANY other official report that claims this. You have yet to provide ANY documentation on your claims, and I happen to know they are dead wrong, after working with drug policy in Norway, The Netherlands and the U.K. for the last 4 years. What you are saying makes no sense, has no scientific documentation and is at best a gross misrepresentation of statistics and facts.
    One misrepresented fact per say is calling prostitution for a crime related to drugs, as the only reason girls have to prostitute themselves for it is precisely because it is illegal. If drugs were legal, a daily habit would not cost up to 1000$ a day as they do now, and nobody would have to sell sex to afford a habit. This is one of the key points in why countries all over Europe are considering heroin maintenance.

    “The number of heroin users in the EU has slightly gone down, but the number of cocaine users has skyrocketed”

    Cocaine use has risen in the EU, this much is true. But not anywhere near as much as it has in the USA which have the most harshest punishments for cocaine use in the western world. It has risen in every country, and has so just as much (but in most cases more) in countries with a “tough on drugs” approach. This can in no way be said to be a result of decriminalisation.

    “The reason why drug use has not stopped in countries were drug trafficking is punished by death penalty is that addicts tend to believe themselves smarter than they usually are and are incapable of seeing the consequences of their drug use.”

    All though I couldn’t disagree more with you conclusion, doesn’t that kind of prove my point though? You CAN’T stop drug use through punishment, because there will ALLWAYS be (apparently a lot of) people willing to take the risks involved no matter what they are, to use or sell drugs. No country in the history of the earth has ever been drug free. Prohibition does not work.

    “Drug use in these countries has gradually gone down since such extreme measures were started to be taken.”

    You fail to state which countries you are refering to. If they exist, please write down a link to some sort of documentation. Because I don’t believe you.

    “it appears that all politicians that favour decriminalising drug purchase or consumption seem to have a history of substance abuse themselves”

    If that is true, it only proves yet again that illegal drugs are (or have been) used by members of all social stands in society. And even if they have, do you mean to imply that because they have actually tried the substance under discussion, they somehow hold no credibility? Isn’t it a good thing that politicians have first hand experience when they are making laws? Isn’t a free society about taking all sides of a matter into perspective and finding the least bad solution for everybody?
    Btw, last year presidential candidate Ron Paul of the American Republican Party is one of (if not THE) most outspoken politicians on this issue, and he has never touched an illegal drug in his life.

    So, provide me a link if you can to prove your false claims! Prove it!
    I think your to hung up on disagreeing that you fail to see the evidence in front of you.

    Some people use drugs you don’t like.
    Deal with it.

  • Snax, you were caught lying or being delusional (to give you the benefit of the doubt). Read the reports; I’ve summarised the content. The very material you linked to proves me right.

    Either you’re notoriously stupid or notoriously dishonest. Either way, I don’t see any need to waste my time on a person like you any longer.

  • As someone who doesn’t drink, smoke, or generally use drugs but has now been in agonizing pain that keeps me from doing important things like caring for my children, the idea of using a drug which may mildly impair my judgment to help with the incredible pain doesn’t seem so bad.

    I don’t own a car, so you needn’t worry about me putting you in danger on the roads.

    for the record, I’ve never been high. I’ve never been drunk. I’ve also never been in this much pain. Acamol and ibuprofen and all that stuff doesn’t make any difference because this is neuropathic pain.

  • You should all see the fantastic impact that Medical Cannabis has on patients, not only terminal – cancer patients during chemo get back their appetite; Parkinson patients’ hands stop shaking; chronic pain patients can function; PTSD patients can sleep at night. I see them every time in in the Tikun Olam clinic.
    Patients who use Medical Cananbis are not “high” or “stoned” or whatever. The impact of Medical Cannabis on people who need it is purely therapeutic.

    • Not as ignorant as those that confuse the medical use of cannabis for terminally ill patients with legalising marijuana et al. altogether. I do get to see the results of use every workday, and they’re anything but pretty.

      BTW, my grandmother’s been ill with Parkinson’s for about two decades now, and she takes medication against the shaking.
      PTSD patients don’t need drugs but therapy. You don’t cure a person by silencing the symptoms rather than tackling the cause of their misery.

  • Let’s pinpoint the subject – I’m not talking about legalizing Cannabis for recreational use; I’m not talking about terminally ill patients – but patients whose doctor prescribed Medical Cannabis: Do you think it’s alright? And if not, why? And in your example – do you see any difference between the medication your Grandmother is taking and Medical Cannabis (besides Medical Cannabis being without any side effects)?
    Regarding PTSD – PTSD has 3 main symptoms: Invasion (polshanut), over-awakeness and avoidance (=avoiding being in situations that might raise the bad memories). The invasion can be reduced thanks to Medical Cannabis starting day one. So what, the poor guy has to suffer for years through questionable therapy (reminder – psychology is not science) – or would you allow him to get some sleep at night?

    • Reminder – if psychology were not science, it wouldn’t be taught at secular universities. The suggestion though that “years of questionable therapy” is in any way inferior to the highly questionable use of a drug that in numerous studies has shown to affect behaviour and the brain is in and of itself anything but scientific. It does neither compare results nor side-effects, and the underlying idea that marijuana / cannabis doesn’t cause side-effects if it’s prescribed by a doctor does not have any side effects – as the very components are used to generate the desired effects that enter the body during recreational use – doesn’t sound anything but scientific either. Furthermore, it’s not a cure but a suppression of symptoms. Patient information leaflets that come with cough suppressants tell you the stuff is only for temporary use and advises you to see a doctor if symptoms persist after a few days. A suppressant hardly can be a lifetime’s solution.

      The medication my grandma uses tackles the cause of her Parkinson’s: the imbalance between dopamine and glutamate in her brain. The only known side-effect of her medication could be hyperkinesia at a later stage (though she’s old and might never get there). This contrasts rather favourably to indifference, an increased risk of schizophrenia, schizothymia etc.

      As for terminally ill patients, I think anything that eases their pain is legitimate. As for non-terminally ill patients, there indeed are a lot of side-effects to be considered and options must be gauged.

      But what I was getting at above is that potheads and potheads-to-be use the, still debatable, advantages of medical marijuana compared to e.g. morphia in terminally ill cancer patients and deduce from that that recreational use is also harmless. That is factually wrong. It’s not only me that has seen the effects on young people, but there are numerous studies out there that indicate that the stuff is anything but harmless, has got serious side effects, and that we’re only just now getting to see the long-term side effects among those that started taking it in the 1960s.

  • Froylein,

    Your grandmother’s medication only has one possible side effect? That’s simply not possible, have you ever read the inserts that come with medication. Marijuana is completely natural and can be grown organically. Any person who has every smoked, either recreationally or medically realizes that there are huge potential benefits of marijuana for a whole slew of medical issues, not all being terminal.

    I haven’t smoked marijuana in years. However, I have a sleep disorder. I was on valium for years to help me sleep. I almost died going off the valium because I stopped it abruptly after a skiing accident and I had terrible anxiety attacks from stopping the valium. Before taking the valium, I smoked marijuana in the evenings and I slept really good on most nights. I’ve been to some of the best sleep doctors and sleep labs in the US, and I’ve found nothing that works for me (they just want to push pills down my throat). If my Chupat Cholim would prescribe it, I would definitely consider smoking before bed. Those were the times in my life that I felt the best physically and mentally.

    Psychology is certainly not a science. Just because it’s taught at University doesn’t prove anything. I was trained for over 3 years in hypnosis, and I have read many, many books on psychology. A lot of opinions, not a lot of science.

    The discussion here was about medical marijuana, not recreational use. Every Orthodox Posek and Rabbi would agree that if a doctor prescribes it, then it is completely Mutar (permissible).

    You’re simply speaking out of ignorance….another sad victim of the war on drugs.

    Btw…I’m an utra-orthodox Jew.

    • I’ve read that info that come with her meds and also looked the medication she gets up in a reference work on Parkison treatments.

      Had you really studied psychology as you claim you did (you’ll be hard pressed to find a psychology faculty at a reputable university that’ll teach you hypnosis), you’d know it’s highly scientific and highly concerned with gathering tons of data, using control groups, and critically analysing empirical evidence.
      I’m speaking out experience with many people that have been destroyed by this stuff, physically and mentally. My experiences are not only mine but go in line with most recent research as backed by our Federal Ministry of Health. The link is above. You, on the other hand, are speaking from the point of view of a user. My experience tells me that users will always try to validate use for themselves.

      I’m not a victiom of the war on drugs. Many friends and students are victims of the effects of drugs. Read up on long-term effects of marijuana causing sleep disorders. You might well be another victim.

  • Actually, even Freud studied hypnosis for years in France, and his son said that Freud told him at the end of his life that he would have focused only on hypnosis if he would have known just how great it really was.

    Marijuana might cause long-term effects in sleep, but that varies from person to person.

    It’s just a plant.

  • “it’s just a plant”
    so is deadly nightshade, rosary pea, jimson weed, yew, oleander…

    heck, even apple seeds can be deadly if you eat too many of them.

  • The development of this new type of medical marijuana is an exciting development, particularly for those who want to use cannabis to alleviate their pain.

  • Please watch Rick simpson’s film ‘Run from the cure’
    He makes THC oil and gives it orally to cure cancers ect, ect. Very powerfull medicine. Blame the pharmo companies for poisoning us!

  • We have stretched ourselves thin fighting for a cause we no longer even no what is. Our government is riddled with corruption and controlled by outside financial interests. They are one step away from declaring any government dissenters as ‘terrorists’ which will give the TSA and homeland security broad authority to arrest and jail free citizens with no due process. We have them cornered. Now is the time to act. Democrats and republicans are nothing but made up lies to con us into believing we have freedom and choices, we do not. The sooner you hop on the band wagon the sooner we can stop this ridiculous hypocrisy we call freedom. We are the 99%, and so are you. Don’t trust the media or what any elected official says, they are in severe damage control mode and will call anything that questions their absolute authority over us with no oversight “anti-american,” despite the fact this IS how this country was originally formed, before we got so big and did no adequately supervise those we entrusted with the amount of money they would make.

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