SB 35 PASSED THE SENATE TODAY – NOW WE REALLY NEED YOUR HELP!

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Check it out: http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1046579

This is how the vote went down.  Please take a moment to thank our supporters in the Senate and then place a critical call to your state representative and let them know how much we need their vote on SB 35 when it lands in the House next week.  http://www.legis.la.gov/Legis/FindMyLegislators.aspx

First stop, House Judiciary and those members that need to hear from us the most: http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Cmtes/Judiciary.aspx

 

Thanks to each of you for all you do – this is the sound of democracy happening!

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New Bill Would End Federal War on Marijuana

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February 8th, 2017 by Tom Angell

A bipartisan group of seven Republicans and six Democrats filed new Congressional legislation that would protect people who are acting in compliance with state marijuana laws from federal prosecution and punishment.

Titled the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017,” the bill adds a new provision to the Controlled Substances Act that reads:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.”

In a lengthy floor speech announcing the bill, chief sponsor Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) argued that the legislation falls in line with the principles of limited government and states’ rights that so many in his party profess to value:

“My bill would then make sure that Federal law is aligned with the States’ and the people in those States’ desires so that the residents and businesses wouldn’t have to worry about Federal prosecution. For those few States that have thus far maintained a policy of strict prohibition, my bill would change nothing. I think that this is a reasonable compromise that places the primary responsibility of police powers back in the States and the local communities that are most directly affected.”

“I happen to believe that the Federal Government shouldn’t be locking up anyone for making a decision of what he or she should privately consume, whether that person is rich or poor, and we should never be giving people the excuse, especially Federal authorities, that they have a right to stop people or intrude into their lives in order to prevent them and prevent others from smoking a weed, consuming something they personally want to consume.”

Rohrabacher, who ardently supported Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign and was reportedly considered as a possible secretary of state nominee, cited the new president’s pledges to respect state marijuana laws.

The California congressman then gave a bit of a history lesson, likening current federal policy impeding state laws to the British monarchy that U.S. founding fathers rebelled against, and comparing marijuana criminalization to the earlier failed prohibition of alcohol.

Turning one marijuana stereotype on its head, he decried the federal government’s “paranoia” regarding the truth about marijuana as evidenced by the DEA’s longstanding efforts to block research on its medical benefits.

And referencing the increasingly contentious debate about health care reform, Rohrabacher said:

“Remember, as we discuss people’s health care, Republicans over and over again say: You shouldn’t get in between a doctor and his patient. We believe in the doctor-patient relationship. That is true for medical marijuana as well. Do we believe in these principles?”

The new bill is the fourth piece of marijuana reform legislation to be introduced in the 115th Congress.

It is is identical to a bill Rohrabacher and others filed in the last Congress, which ended up garnering 20 co-sponsors but did not receive a hearing or a vote.

 
 Source:  MassRoots
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Israel takes step toward allowing export of medical marijuana

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An Israeli government committee gave an initial nod on Sunday for the export of medical marijuana in what could be a windfall for companies in Israel, widely regarded as a leader in research in the field.

A government statement announcing the vote said it could take months for the legislation to make its way through parliament.

In the United States, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use and since 2012, Colorado, Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have also approved marijuana for recreational use. The market there, by some estimates, will reach $50 billion over the next decade.

Israel is widely regarded as one of the world leaders in medical marijuana research, even though the local market is small. Only 23,000 people have Health Ministry permits to purchase medical cannabis from nine licensed suppliers, creating a market of $15 million to $20 million at most.

Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN, a private cannabis research hub in Israel, said there are about 50 Israeli medical marijuana companies active in many aspects of the industry, from agriculture to delivery devices, such as inhalers.

Kaye estimated that international investments in Israeli companies reached about $100 million in 2016.

Last month, Israel moved toward decriminalizing small-scale personal use of marijuana and authorities are supportive of research. Israeli Health Minister Yakov Litzman supports medical cannabis usage and has introduced steps to ease its prescription and sale.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source:  Reuters

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Trump’s Cabinet on Cannabis

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February 3rd, 2017 by Tom Angell

Most MassRoots readers probably already know that President Trump pledged on the campaign trail that he would respect state marijuana laws. You probably also know that Trump’s nominee to head the Justice Department has a long history of speaking out against legalization.

But where do other incoming top Trump administration officials stand on cannabis? We’ve compiled everything you need to know right here.

Just in case you haven’t followed all the latest news from Capitol Hill, let’s start with attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama: Last year Sessions said “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and repeatedly criticized the Obama administration’s approach of generally respecting the right of states to set their own cannabis policies. Since being nominated as attorney general, however, he has been much more guarded in response to questions about how the federal government should react to local policies.

During a confirmation hearing, Sessions called existing guidelines on how states can avoid interference “valuable,” but indicated that compliance probably isn’t being tracked as closely as it should be, saying he wouldn’t commit to never enforcing federal law. In answers to follow-up written questions, he said he would “review and evaluate those policies, including the original justifications for the memorandum, as well as any relevant data and how circumstances may have changed or how they may change in the future.”

About a week and a half before the inauguration, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that even if Sessions personally disagreed with the president on respecting state laws, “When you come into a Trump administration, it’s the Trump agenda that you are implementing, not your own. And I think that Senator Sessions is well aware of that.”

Vice President Mike Pence, while serving as a member of the U.S. House, voted six times against amendments to prevent the Justice Department from interfering with state medical marijuana laws.

Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin said in response to a written question from a senator that banking and tax concerns facing marijuana businesses are “a very important issue,” committing to “work with Congress and the President to determine which provisions of the current tax code should be retained, revised or eliminated to ensure that all individuals and businesses compete on a level playing field.”

At his confirmation hearing, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly conceded that prohibition enforcement will never completely eliminate the consumption of drugs. However, he added that in his view there is no such thing as “nonviolent” drug use because proceeds go into supporting a criminal market where violence is often used to settle disputes. While serving in a past military role, Kelly regularly testified before Congress that legalization in U.S. states made it harder for him to get cooperation from other countries in the international drug war. But he has also expressed openness to medical cannabis.

David Shulkin, who Trump nominated to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, also seems somewhat open to increasing military veterans’ access to medical marijuana, writing in a letter last year that he “wholeheartedly agree[s] that VA should do all it can to foster open communication between Veterans and their VA providers, including discussion about participation in state marijuana programs.”

But Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, is certainly not a fan of medical cannabis or of letting states set their own laws on the issue. As Oklahoma attorney general, he’s currently involved in a lawsuit over a proposed medical marijuana ballot measure. In a filing last month he argued that state cannabis laws are preempted by federal prohibition. “[The Oklahoma initiative] requires State officials to conspire…to violate federal drug laws by issuing licenses that will break federal law if certain preconditions are met, and to arguably share in the profits for breaking federal law by taxing the sale of marijuana,” he wrote. Alarmingly, Pruitt called the Obama approach to state cannabis laws “tenuous,” adding, “the prior [Bush] presidential administration vigorously enforced the law…and the incoming presidential administration may take the same course.” Pruitt previously sued neighboring Colorado over its legalization law in a case that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during his confirmation hearing, took a verbal beating from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for refusing to criticize the deadly drug war in the Philippines.

Energy secretary nominee Rick Perry, a former Texas governor and presidential candidate, personally opposes legalization but has repeatedly spoken out in favor of the right of states to set their own cannabis laws without federal interference.

Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Trump’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, has voted in favor of several U.S. House amendments on marijuana, including ones to prevent the Justice Department from spending money to interfere with state medical cannabis or full legalization laws.

Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-MT), Trump’s pick to lead the Department of the Interior, voted for the state medical marijuana amendments but against the full legalization ones.

Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), the nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, voted against both the medical marijuana and full legalization protections for states.

Housing and Urban Development nominee Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate, has given mixed signals on marijuana, endorsing its medical benefits but also saying that recreational use can cause flashbacks.

Trump hasn’t officially nominated someone to lead the Food and Drug Administration yet, but two people floated in the press as possible picks are seen as favorable to cannabis law reform: Jim O’Neill was once a board member for a legalization organization, and Balaji Srinivasan tweeted about the racially disparate impact of marijuana law enforcement.

All told, the Trump team is very much a mixed bag when it comes to cannabis policy, and the views of some department and agency heads will be more important than others when it comes to determining the federal government’s approach to marijuana. But what matters most at the end of the day is whether the president sees it as politically important enough to follow through on his campaign pledge to respect state laws, or if he would allow the Justice Department to undermine those promises in line with the views of a less-friendly attorney general. Stay tuned.

 

Source:  MassRoots

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First Look at New Marijuana Bills in Congress

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Two new bills to reform federal marijuana laws were just introduced in Congress, and MassRoots has an exclusive first look at the proposals.

Both sponsored by Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA), H.R. 714 and H.R. 715 would reschedule cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

The first bill, also known as the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act (LUMA), would simply move cannabis from its status under Schedule I — the most restrictive drug category under federal law — to Schedule II. It would also ensure that provisions of the CSA would not “prohibit or otherwise restrict” state-authorized use, possession, transportation, production and distribution of medical marijuana.

The second bill, the Compassionate Access Act, is broader in scope, and is cosponsored by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). It also reschedules marijuana but doesn’t mandate a move to Schedule II specifically, leaving the door open for cannabis to be placed even lower in the CSA.

The bill also excludes cannabidiol (CBD) from the federal definition of marijuana, specifying that it is not to be treated as a controlled substance. Like LUMA, the legislation includes protections for state-authorized medical marijuana activities, but it adds further language covering parents or guardians of minors who are authorized patients and also has a provision covering marijuana testing labs.

Additionally, the legislation requires the Department of Justice to move authority for access to research-grade cannabis “to an agency of the Executive Branch that is not focused on researching the addictive properties of substances.” That’s a thinly-veiled dig at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which currently has such authority but has been repeatedly criticized for favoring studies on marijuana’s potential harms instead of its medical benefits.

The bill specifies that research done in accordance with state laws can be taken into account for future rescheduling decisions even if those studies did not use cannabis from federally-approved sources.

Both of Griffith’s new bills use the federally-loaded word “prescription” to qualify the type of state-legal medical marijuana activities that are protected, but define the term to mean “an instruction written by a medical physician in accordance with applicable State law,” indicating that current medical cannabis recommendations in accordance with state programs would likely qualify.

“There are countless reports of marijuana’s medicinal benefits in treating conditions including cancer, epilepsy and glaucoma,” Griffith said in a statement. “It is time to research this further, and, where legal, to allow real doctors and real pharmacists to prescribe or dispense marijuana for legitimate medical reasons for real patients.”

Blumenauer added, “For too long our federal marijuana policies have failed the American people. It’s past time for a change. The Compassionate Access Act will bring us closer to making sure federal law does not get in the way of doctors, researchers and business owners working to provide safer access to patients.”

Neither bill has yet been scheduled for a hearing or a vote.

These are the second and third pieces of marijuana legislation introduced so far in the new 115th Congress. The first was a proposal from Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), in partnership with Blumenauer and a handful of other members, to protect properties and assets from being seized by the federal government just because they are involved with state-legal medical cannabis activities.

Many more marijuana bills are expected to be introduced on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks, and we’ll be here to keep you informed as details emerge.

 Source:  MassRoots
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Trump’s Supreme Court Pick On Marijuana

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February 1st, 2017 by Tom Angell

Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, has issued a few interesting marijuana rulings over the years.

But Gorsuch, currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, hasn’t ever given a clear indication of how he’d rule on big cases about conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws that might arrive before the Supreme Court in the coming years.

In 2015 case, he ruled against a Colorado marijuana dispensary, saying that it must comply with IRS orders to disclose information about its operations.

While the case didn’t directly concern questions about the right of states to set their own cannabis laws, Gorsuch did offer some commentary on the uncertainty caused by continued federal prohibition:

“This case owes its genesis to the mixed messages the federal government is sending these days about the distribution of marijuana…

“[O]fficials at the Department of Justice have now twice instructed field prosecutors that they should generally decline to enforce Congress’s statutory command when states like Colorado license operations like THC. At the same time and just across 10th Street in Washington, D.C., officials at the IRS refuse to recognize business expense deductions claimed by companies like THC on the ground that their conduct violates federal criminal drug laws.

“So it is that today prosecutors will almost always overlook federal marijuana distribution crimes in Colorado but the tax man never will.”

In the opinion, Gorsuch seemed to take the federal government to task for in effect having contradictory positions on whether the marijuana store would be incriminating itself by describing its operations:

“Yes, the Fifth Amendment normally shields individuals from having to admit to criminal activity. But, the IRS argued, because DOJ’s memoranda generally instruct federal prosecutors not to prosecute cases like this one the petitioners should be forced to divulge the requested information anyway. So it is the government simultaneously urged the court to take seriously its claim that the petitioners are violating federal criminal law and to discount the possibility that it would enforce federal criminal law.”

He also raised questions about the protections that Obama-era enforcement memos ultimately provide for state-legal marijuana activities, writing, “[I]t’s not clear whether informal agency memoranda guiding the exercise of prosecutorial discretion by field prosecutors may lawfully go quite so far in displacing Congress’s policy directives as these memoranda seek to do. There’s always the possibility, too, that the next…Deputy Attorney General could displace these memoranda at anytime…”

In separate case, in 2010, Gorsuch ruled that a husband and wife charged with cannabis sales offenses couldn’t cite the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense because, he said, they weren’t sincere in their claims that the cannabis was for legally protected spiritual purposes:

“[N]umerous pieces of evidence in this case strongly suggest that the [couple’s] marijuana dealings were motivated by commercial or secular motives rather than sincere religious conviction…

“[T]he record contains additional, overwhelming contrary evidence that the [couple was] running a commercial marijuana business with a religious front.”

In a 2013 case, Gorsuch took the position that what ended up being the fatal use of a taser by a police officer against someone fleeing a marijuana arrest was “reasonable”:

“[T]he illegal processing and manufacturing of marijuana may not be inherently violent crimes but, outside the medical marijuana context, they were felonies under Colorado law at the time of the incident… And Officer Harris testified, without rebuttal, that he had been trained that people who grow marijuana illegally tend to be armed and ready to use force to protect themselves and their unlawful investments.”

Shortly after Trump’s announcement on Tuesday night that he’d picked Gorsuch to fill the seat vacated by the late Antonin Scalia, the National Urban League tweeted its concern about the taser case in particular:

As demonstrated in the 2015 tax case against the dispensary, Gorsuch seem to be aware that the gap between federal and state marijuana laws is growing unsustainable.

But he hasn’t yet revealed much about his views on the power and ability of states to enact laws that require local officials to grant licenses for, and collect tax revenue from, activities that are in contradiction with the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Perhaps that’s something that members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will ask about when they hold confirmation hearings on his nomination in the coming weeks.

 Source:  MassRoots 
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Scientists to Government: Make It Easier to Study Marijuana

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By THE  New York Times EDITORIAL BOARD JAN. 17, 2017

Even as more and more states allow their residents to use marijuana, the federal government is continuing to obstruct scientists from studying whether the drug is good or bad for people’s health.

report published last week by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine points out that scientists who want to study cannabis have to seek approvals from federal, state and local agencies and depend on just one lab, at the University of Mississippi, for samples. As a result, far too little is known about the health effects of a substance that 28 states have decided can be used as medicine and eight states and the District of Columbia have approved for recreational use.

The situation is so absurd, the report says, that chemists and brain researchers are not allowed to study cannabis concentrates and edibles. Yet those forms of the drug are widely used. For example, in Colorado, where voters decided to create a regulated market for marijuana in 2012, sales of concentrates reached $60.5 million in just the first three months of last year.

Many of the research restrictions stem from the federal government’s decision to classify marijuana under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, which limits access to funding, among other burdens. The report, which was written by a committee of health experts, does not go as far as calling for reclassification, something that Congress or the executive branch has the power to do.

But the report’s conclusions show why marijuana does not belong with LSD and heroin on Schedule I, defined as substances with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. The committee’s review of existing studies found “conclusive or substantial evidence” that marijuana or compounds in the plant can effectively treat chronic pain, nausea from chemotherapy and some symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Though there is not enough evidence to show that epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder can be successfully treated, the report said continuing clinical trials may yet provide proof.

The report did point out that there could be harmful effects from marijuana use, like increased risk of car accidents. And marijuana smoking by pregnant women was linked to low birth weight. But cannabis does not increase the risk of lung or neck cancers and there is limited evidence that it leads people to start using other substances — the “gateway drug” theory.

Regrettably, Congress and the Obama administration have refused to remove marijuana from Schedule I. And President-elect Donald Trump does not support recreational use of the drug, though he has endorsed medical use. His nominee for attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, has a long record of opposing marijuana legalization by states and, in April, said, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” During his confirmation hearings last week, he seemed to take a more sensible position by praising guidelines issued by the Justice Department in 2013 that let states experiment with legalization if they properly regulated production and distribution.

Even if Mr. Trump and Congress are unwilling to reclassify marijuana, they could remove the regulatory barriers to research and let scientists get to work.

 

Source:  The New York Times

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The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research

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Recent years have seen a rapid rise in the medical and recreational use of cannabis: a broad term that can be used to describe the various products and chemical compounds (e.g., marijuana, cannabinoids) derived from different species of the cannabis plant. Despite increased cannabis use and a changing state-level policy landscape, conclusive evidence regarding the short- and long-term health effects—both harms and benefits—of cannabis use remains elusive.

A lack of definitive evidence has resulted in insufficient information on the health implications of cannabis use, causing a significant public health concern for vulnerable populations such as adolescents, pregnant women, and others. Unlike with substances such as alcohol or tobacco, no accepted standards exist to help guide individuals as they make choices regarding if, when, where, and how to use cannabis safely and, in regard to therapeutic uses, effectively.

With support from a host of federal, state, philanthropic and nongovernmental organizations, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened an ad hoc, expert committee to develop a comprehensive, in-depth review of the most recent evidence regarding health effects of using cannabis and cannabis-derived products. In the resulting report, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research, the committee presents nearly 100 research conclusions. The committee also formulated recommendations to expand and improve the quality of cannabis research efforts, enhance data collection efforts to support the advancement of research, and address the current barriers to cannabis research.

Read Report Highlights here.

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Australian philanthropist donates $4.1 million to Thomas Jefferson University for hemp and cannabinoid research

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In an effort to help improve lives through cannabinoid research, Australian philanthropist Barry Lambert and wife Joy recently donated US$3 million (AU$4.1 million) to the Thomas Jefferson University. Due to their generous donation, the school has renamed its cannabis research centre to the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp.

This philanthropic move was fuelled by the condition of Barry Lambert’s granddaughter, Katelyn, who is suffering from Dravet syndrome. The condition is a type of epilepsy that causes severe and repetitive seizures. Katelyn had spent most of her time in and out of hospitals and was given a cocktail of epilepsy drugs. Moreover, the Lambert family discovered that medical cannabis, primarily CBD oil, was effective in keeping the seizures at bay and provided the child with substantial relief.

The first facility of its kind in the United States

According to the university, the major health sciences university will be the first of its kind in the United States to establish a centre dedicated to medical marijuana education and research.” Lambert’s contribution will be used to conduct research into the potential medical use of cannabinoids, which is found in the cannabis plant.

CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health Dr. Stephen K. Klasko said that the centre will help Jefferson “catapult our research and educational efforts in medical cannabis.”

Barry Lambert commented, “Joy and I were extremely impressed with Jefferson’s rapid progress in the field of medicinal cannabis research and innovative approach to exploring all avenues for new therapies to include using hemp-derived cannabinoids. We believe that solving big problems require courage and big ideas, and that is what we’ve seen at TJU and in the United States where 21st century laws and scientific approaches exist to the use of hemp as a safe and effective source of medical cannabis. We’re proud the centre will bear our name.”

From finance to philanthropy

Barry Lambert earned success by founding Count Financial in Australia, a firm that supports accounting firms across the country. The 70-year-old Lambert was also listed as the 154th richest person on the BRW Rich 200 List for 2015 with his total wealth amounting to $372 million.

Lambert has long been an advocate of the use of CBD oil but has never smoked cannabis in his life. Lambert made news in August 2015 when he pledged $34 million to the University of Sydney, which launched the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics. The philanthropist said that he hopes that the two research facilities would reach around the globe and work together

Aside from his philanthropic works, Barry is also a primary investor in Ecofibre Industries. This year, Ecofibre cultivated 500 acres of industrial hemp in the state of Kentucky under federally compliant guidelines. As a result of these operations, the company has recently launched Ananda Hemp which will distribute hemp-derived CBD products that are eligible for sale in all 50 states.

 

Source:  International Business Times

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Israel, a Medical Marijuana Pioneer, Is Eager to Capitalize.

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Tending cannabis plants at a medical marijuana farm near Safed, Israel. Credit Baz Ratner/Reuters

JERUSALEM — Israeli scientists began their pioneering research to isolate the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana with a 10-pound stash seized by the Tel Aviv police. That effort, in the 1960s, helped propel Israel to the vanguard of research into the plant’s medicinal properties and lay the foundations for a medical marijuana industry.

Now the nation’s burgeoning pot business, backed by an unlikely coalition of farmers, lawyers, scientists, entrepreneurs and the country’s ultra-Orthodox health minister, is going mainstream — and eyeing markets abroad.

Marijuana, or cannabis, is still classified as a dangerous drug in Israel and remains illegal for recreational purposes. But the government is also at the forefront of efforts to develop and expand the fast-growing medical marijuana industry and make Israel a major center for it.

Recent government efforts to regulate medical marijuana will make it more accessible and available by prescription at pharmacies. The government has also appointed a committee to examine the possibility of Israel becoming one of the few countries to allow exports, although the destination for products remains unclear.

The Volcani Center, the Ministry of Agriculture’s research organization, is building a national institute for medical marijuana research. The chief scientist’s office of the Ministry of Economy has infused millions of shekels into innovative marijuana companies, much as government investment helped fuel the Israeli tech boom in the 1990s. The government is also setting standards for the cultivation, storage and use of medical marijuana.

“It is almost unprecedented,” said Tamir Gedo, the chief executive of Breath of Life Pharma, an Israeli company permitted to grow medical cannabis and make and distribute products. “It seems the government is working faster than the private industry.”

The reforms spearheaded by the Health Ministry, which is led by Yaakov Litzman of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party, open up licensing for an unlimited number of growers, up from eight farms. The list of doctors trained and authorized to prescribe marijuana is to be expanded and research encouraged. The reforms, which were approved by the government in the summer, were formulated in cooperation with the Ministries of Agriculture, Justice, Internal Security and Finance.

“I cannot say that I am in favor of cannabis,” Mr. Litzman said at a business conference last month, reflecting concerns that medical marijuana could trickle into the recreational market. But Mr. Litzman said he would even support the idea of export so long as revenues went to the Health Ministry, adding, “There is a lot of pressure on me.”

Some of Israel’s more traditional medical institutions and associations are still averse to joining the party, a wariness that marijuana advocates put down to a lack of knowledge. The police worry about leakage into the recreational black market, and some Israelis are concerned that export, if allowed, would stigmatize the country as one that dealt primarily in arms and drugs.

About 25,000 Israelis, in a population of 8.5 million, hold permits to use medical marijuana to ease symptoms of cancer, epilepsy and other diseases, but that number is expected to grow rapidly. So far, medical marijuana has been distributed by the growers through special dispensaries or by home delivery.

The Health Ministry’s written protocols on the matter, known as the Green Book, have generated international interest.

“We wrote this because we couldn’t find it in other countries,” said Dr. Michael Dor, a family physician and senior adviser to the Health Ministry’s medical cannabis unit. “Now everybody is asking about it.”

The ministry has approved dozens of clinical trials, Dr. Dor said, adding, “If we don’t do it right here, the specialists will go abroad with their knowledge, and we have wonderful knowledge here.”

Raphael Mechoulam, now a professor of medicinal chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and his colleague Yechiel Gaoni first isolated the main compounds, including the psychoactive ingredient — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — with the marijuana supplied by the Tel Aviv police. When administrators at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where Professor Mechoulam was conducting his research, first called the police with the request, he recalled in an interview, “they asked if I was trustworthy.”

Professor Mechoulam, 86, has continued his research in his current post, focusing on the compounds in the brain that make the active components of marijuana work. He is also a consultant for the Ministry of Health and collaborates with research groups around the world.

“Medicinal cannabis has to follow medical lines of thought and development and modern medical routes” in order to produce proper drugs, he said. Pointing to an international paucity of clinical trials, he said, “Israel has more than the United States at the moment, which is ridiculous.” In the United States, medical marijuana programs exist in many states but remain illegal under federal law.

Professor Mechoulam is also a member of the advisory board of Breath of Life, whose products, according to Mr. Gedo, the chief executive, are made according to pharmaceutical best-practice protocols.

“We are working as a pharmaceutical company, not a cannabis company,” Mr. Gedo said. Breath of Life is participating in a dozen clinical trials, including one based on cannabinoids, the chemical compounds in marijuana, for autism in children with the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

According to Mr. Gedo, several American companies are conducting trials in Israel based on Breath of Life’s active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Teva Israel, a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., recently announced a distribution and cooperation agreement with Syqe Medical, a Tel Aviv company that developed an inhaler for administering marijuana in precise doses. The dose can be tailored to each patient like a standard medical treatment, which experts say should reduce or eliminate the objections of reluctant physicians.

Two international medical marijuana conferences have taken place in Israel this year. At the Cann10 conference in Tel Aviv in September, speakers discussed science, medicine, technology and commerce. Purveyors, some in white lab coats, displayed their wares. A grower called PharmoCann displayed rows of sealed plastic vials containing strains of flowers undergoing testing with names like Blue, Train Wreck and Voodoo Child.

Israelis have been producing products with varying degrees of THC for years. Another company at the Cann10 conference, Cannabliss, makes medical marijuana oil and other nonsmoking products, works with a professor of immunotherapy and bone marrow at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem and supplies the hospital’s medical marijuana dispensary.

“We hope the market will open up in the world as soon as possible,” Moshe Ihea, Cannabliss’s founder and chief executive, said. “First we have to open up the people.” He added that he had discovered the medicinal benefits after he suffered a leg injury during an army exercise.

Saul Kaye, a pharmacist and the chief executive of iCan: Israel-Cannabis, a venture fund and technology incubator for start-ups driving the global medical marijuana industry, said this “could be another incredible economy for Israel.”

He added, “There’s a national consciousness for cannabis that you cannot ignore.”

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