Rick Doblin, Mike Corral Visit Israel to Help Medical Marijuana Program.
On August 24, 2009, MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D. met with Israeli Ministry of Health official Yehuda Baruch, M.D. who is in charge of the Ministry’s medical marijuana program. Boaz Wachtel, an Israeli medical marijuana activist, was also at the meeting. They discussed various issues regarding the expansion of the Israeli medical marijuana program. Currently, there are a handful of marijuana producers licensed to grow marijuana and give the product away to about 500 licensed medical marijuana patients. In order to create a sustainable business model, there will need to be a transition to allowing the producers to sell their product. However, it seems that the transition to sales will not be imminent. There will need to be more work done to persuade the Ministry of Health that selling the medicine to patients is an appropriate course of action. Despite no guarantee of future sales, the various producers are taking on investors in hopes of building for-profit businesses. Consequently, MAPS has stopped donating money to Israeli production facilities. MAPS is still trying to help support medical marijuana research in Israel by urging the Ministry to approve sales as soon as possible.