Likud MK Proposes Bill to Ease Controls on Medical Marijuana

Health Ministry opposes the bill, especially the clause that would allow patients to grow their own.

A bill that would allow any doctor to prescribe medical marijuana to his patients, will be voted on by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday. Only a few doctors nationwide are currently authorized to prescribe cannabis.

The bill, sponsored by MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud), would also allow anyone who has a doctor’s prescription for marijuana to grow, possess and use the drug in the prescribed dosage.

The Health Ministry has informed Feiglin that it opposes the bill, especially the clause that would allow patients to grow marijuana for their own use.

Associates of Feiglin, who has been negotiating with the ministry, said he would be willing to drop that clause if the rest of the bill were approved. But they said his impression was that Health Minister Yael German opposed the entire bill, and not just that clause. Therefore, the change might not be enough to win the ministry’s support.

Since the ministerial committee’s decision on a bill determines whether the coalition will support or oppose it in the Knesset, a negative decision would greatly reduce the chances of its passing.

In contrast, if the committee supports it, the bill might be brought to the Knesset for its preliminary reading as early as later next week.

“The purpose of the bill is to enable the use of cannabis for medical needs with a doctor’s prescription, just as it’s permissible to use substances that are several times more dangerous and addictive, like opium or Ritalin,” Feiglin wrote in the bill’s explanatory notes. “People should be allowed to supply themselves with this natural drug, with supervision by means of obtaining a permit based on dosage. It’s impossible to accept the current situation, which on one hand makes law-abiding citizens miserable, and on the other hand turns many patients into criminals against their will.”

Nir Keidar