Support Our Future Leaders

The Media Line is known for producing truthful, unbiased journalism and we are teaching future journalists to do the same. Through our signature Press and Policy Student Program, The Media Line provides an innovative opportunity for students to globalize their educational experience by connecting to an active news bureau in the Middle East, studying journalism and public policy under the mentorship of veteran journalists while earning academic credit.

These students will reshape how the world sees and understands the Middle East and, in turn, how the Middle East impacts our world. Your contribution will provide the next generation with the skills they need to uphold the highest standards of journalism and, in turn, educate our global society with integrity and respect.

Thank you!

“The Press and Policy Student Program has elevated my global awareness, supported my journalistic efforts, and propelled me on the path of future success within the news industry.”
Press and Policy Student Program Participant
Carla Warren, University of Houston
Thank you and best wishes.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President
Israeli Ministry of Health: 565 Farms Apply to Grow Medical Cannabis

Israeli Ministry of Health: 565 Farms Apply to Grow Medical Cannabis

Highly-anticipated reform that sets standards for medical use suffers setbacks

Amid pending medical cannabis reforms, hundreds of farms across Israel have applied for permits to grow and distribute the plant, according to the Ministry of Health.

The reforms are intended to standardize prescription procedures and ensure quality. Under new guidelines, patients will purchase marijuana at pharmacies with a physician’s prescription. Hundreds of doctors will undergo training in order to be legally permitted to prescribe cannabis for treatment.

Although it was supposed to be instituted on April 1, the Ministry of Health delayed full implementation until the end of the month without specifying why. Nevertheless, ministry spokesperson Eyal Basson told The Media Line that hundreds of farms had requested cultivation permits.

“So far, 565 farms have submitted requests to the Ministry of Health to obtain licenses to grow medical cannabis,” Basson said. “Of these, 384 have already passed the first round of tests in the licensing process, and this was after they underwent police checks and land ownership verification.”

Initial approval covers only planning and construction.

The spokesperson added that under the new guidelines, farms wishing to operate a medical cannabis business must abide by stringent quality standards in addition to ensuring that the site is properly secured.

“Six farms are currently approaching the end of the third stage of the licensing process and have already established farms that successfully passed security checks as well as agricultural quality tests,” Basson noted. “In addition, another eight farms have completed all the tests and have received work permits.

Some 40,000 patients use medical marijuana in Israel, where the potential market is valued at $165 million. At the moment, the government has approved the use of the plant for the treatment of a wide array of ills, including cancer, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and terminal illnesses.

Despite this, supply has not kept up with demand, and there are reports of chronic shortages. The country’s leading supplier, Tikun Olan, which currently services over 15,000 patients, recently announced a major shortfall of cannabis in flower form.

Maayan Weisberg Yoels, head of international relations at Tikun Olam, told The Media Line that the company was ramping up its production efforts.

“We’ve invested a lot of time and a lot in [production],” Weisberg Yoels said. “We’re doing everything we can to get back on track.”

In a related development, there was an attempted robbery at a Tikun Olam warehouse in northern Israel over the weekend.

According to police, armed and masked robbers raided the facility, located near the Sea of Galilee, in the first robbery of its kind. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld described it as a “serious crime.”

“The security guard was robbed of his weapon, so that’s a more serious incident,” Rosenfeld told The Media Line, adding that the matter was still under investigation.

Rosenfeld added that the suspects “stole a quantity of drugs, which we’re still evaluating,” and that he did not expect other facilities to be targeted.

“We’re not heightening any security specifically,” Rosenfeld elaborated. “But this was a bit of a wake-up call.”

Tikun Olam insists that no cannabis was stolen from the warehouse, as it was empty at the time.

“The burglars threatened the guards with weapons, broke into a warehouse that was empty of merchandise, and left,” Weisberg Yoels said in a written statement. “Tikun Olam clarifies that cannabis was not stolen from the farm.”

Earlier in the week, Israeli authorities partially decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana. Henceforth, possession of the plant at home is no longer an offense, although those found with small amounts of cannabis in public will be fined without undergoing criminal proceedings. The new laws do not apply to minors or soldiers.

Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.