The Israel Government has recently introduced new regulations on the medical marijuana program in the country, including limitations on what patients and conditions qualify for treatment. Now, doctors and patients are protesting the new restrictions. One of their methods; a hunger strike outside the home of Health Minister Yael German.
The new list of qualifying conditions is short, and many illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease, glaucoma and psychiatric disorders are left off. In addition to the hunger strike, Dr. Ilya Reznick of the Reut Hospital in Tel Aviv (Forum Chairman), Dr. Jonathan Greenfeld, Director of the palliative oncology medicine service at Assaf Harofeh Hospital, Dr. Alan Flashman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Dr. Yakir Rotenberg of the Hadassah Medical Center, from the Doctors’ Forum for Safe Access to Cannabis, warn that the new law could cause patients who no longer qualify for medical marijuana to purchase drugs from illegal sources, stating in a letter to the Health Minister that the regulations are “arbitrary and discriminate among patients with different conditions without any logical explanation, and are liable to lead to damage to the continuity of treatment for some of them, contrary to the Patients’ Rights Law.”
In response to the protest, the Health Minister has ordered the committee in charge of overseeing the new regulations to discuss expanding the list of conditions that qualify for treatment with medical marijuana.