Jan 23, 2022
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Medical Cannabis Approved for Epileptic Children in Israel

Cannabis Sativa. (Photo: Wiki Commons)

In a recent interview with Walla News Agency, which covered a variety of topics, Knesset Member Tamar Zandberg, who is a member of the left-wing Meretz party, not only admitted to smoking marijuana but signed on a proposed bill to decriminalize the drug in Israel.

Zandberg, who is a new member of Israel’s 19th Knesset and was formerly a city council representative for Tel Aviv-Yafo, has been described as somewhat of a poster child of Left-wing or liberal politics in Israel. In the same interview she admitted to being proud of the attribution.

Zandberg is one of the most outspoken proponents of legalizing marijuana in the Knesset, together with right-wing MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu), who says he has never used the drug but supports the use of marijuana medically.

In the interview, Zandberg said, “Like everyone else, I smoke sometimes. I’m not a criminal and I’m not a delinquent. Just like you drink wine sometimes, even though alcohol is more dangerous [than cannabis]. Just like [Education Minister] Shai Piron takes Ritalin.”

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Zandberg went one step further than admitting her own usage of the drug. She said the time has come to legalize it for recreational use. “Cannabis is negatively stereotyped in a way that combines ignorance and conservatism. The time has come to change that.”

Tamar Zandberg (Photo: Itamar Rotem/ Wiki Commons)

Tamar Zandberg (Photo: Itamar Rotem/ Wiki Commons)

She pointed to the change in cultural acceptance of the drug as causing a change in the political sphere as well. “The populace are more accepting and are ahead of their leaders,” she claimed.

Currently in Israel, marijuana is permitted for some medicinal use such as those suffering from cancer, parkinson’s, tourette’s, chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis. Recently fibromyalgia and childhood epilepsy were added to this list.

However in some cases, the drug is only permitted when symptoms are severe and other treatments have proven ineffective.  Often adult sufferers will still be unable to use the drug, such as in the case of childhood epilepsy.

While Israel has seen a 30% increase in legally approved medical cannabis users in the past year, now numbering 13,000, the recreational use of the drug is still illegal, something that Zandberg very much hopes to change by example if not by legal basis. The proposed bill has yet to be voted upon by the Knesset.