Red tape leads sick people to acquire marijuana illegally, says Slomiansky

MK Zandberg: Gov’t must adapt to changing public opinion

Marijuana plants are seen in a MedReleaf facility. (photo credit: ALEXANDER REPETSKI)
Marijuana plants are seen in a MedReleaf facility.
(photo credit: ALEXANDER REPETSKI)
Bureaucracy surrounding medical marijuana permits often drives patients to break the law and turn to the black market, MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) said Tuesday in a Knesset committee meeting to discuss decriminalization of cannabis for personal use.
“The wait to receive medical marijuana can be as long as a year to two years, so that by the time it arrives sometimes it’s no longer needed. The bureaucracy causes sick people to become criminals and acquire cannabis illegally because they are waiting for a permit,” Slomiansky said.
His statement came during a meeting of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee called by MKs Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), the latter an outspoken supporter of cannabis legalization and an admitted user of the controlled substance.
Lavie expressed her opposition to legalization and or decriminalization, and cited her experience working at a rehab facility where, by her estimation, 30 percent of the patients were being treated for Cannabis abuse.
Greater legalization, she said, would be a “slippery slope” for Israeli society, leading to greater drug abuse and social ills.
Zandberg, for her part, however, said “It’s hard to miss the public opinion changes in the world and Israel in recent years,” adding that the government must find ways to adapt the reality of law enforcement today to the changing currents of public opinion.
A number of those present mentioned comments from mid- May by National Police Commissioner, Insp. Gen. Yohanan Danino, who said the time has come for the government and police to reexamine their policies on the use of cannabis and look to other countries for guidance.