Israel is the world leader in medical marijuana use, anesthesiologist and pain relief expert Dr. Bareket Schiff- Keren told the Knesset Committee on Drug Abuse on Tuesday.
In addition, Israel Police representative Eyal Zilberman told the committee that medical marijuana is being sold on the black market, and the fields to grow the drug are not properly secured to prevent theft.
Approximately 15 tons of medicinal cannabis are stolen each year, police records show.
Most medical marijuana fields do not meet the police’s standards, according to Zilberman, who called the situation “bizarre.” He said that some of the fields are near shopping malls and parks and have low fences, without security cameras or locks.
“Anyone can come in and take what they want,” Zilberman explained. “We warned the Health Ministry that they must close those fields, but nothing happened.”
Committee on Drug Abuse chairman MK Taleb a-Sanaa (UAL-Ta’al) expressed frustration that after two years of meetings on securing medical marijuana fields, the topic still has not been dealt with properly.
“Those who are ill will pay the price for these problems,” he said.
Dr. Yehuda Baruch, who is responsible for coordinating the growth of medical marijuana, warned that without government regulation, use of the drug for medicinal purposes could lead to general legalization of cannabis.
However, Baruch said he will not order a medical marijuana field closed unless the owner is indicted.
Another police representative complained that they have no way of enforcing the law related to medical cannabis fields, and that it would be preferable to import the drug, rather than grow it locally.
A-Sanaa said that in the coming months, the Committee on Drug Abuse will further investigate the subject and visit a cannabis field.
The committee chairman said that, while Israel could serve as a model for other countries on how to use marijuana medicinally, the Health Ministry should not ignore the police, and make sure that fields are properly protected.