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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Marijuana’

Israel Police Report 9% Rise in Calls for Help

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

It’s going to be another long, hot summer for security personnel if the latest statistics are accurate.

Israel Police report they received more than nine million ‘100′ calls (Israel’s ‘911′) from Tel Aviv in 2013 — a nine percent rise over the previous year.

Annual police data showed the heaviest rate of calls came in the summer months, in June, July and August.

Of the 9,208,890 calls received by the national Israel Police dispatcher, 40,868 took place at one o’clock in the morning, an hour when many bars close. Only 3,731 crimes were reported between 5 am and 6 am – in that grey hour before dawn.

In 2012, 359,503 complaints went on to be processed by police and nearly one third of those — 89,580 — were for disturbing the peace.

Figures show that 40 percent of the calls originated from the southern and central regional districts. But 18 percent came solely from the city of Tel Aviv; not far behind, 14 percent originated in Jerusalem.

Car theft accounted for 55 percent of nearly 20,000 calls to police.

In addition, police reported that some 2,553 kilograms of hashish were seized during the year as well as 1,171 kilos of marijuana and 47,316 tablets of methamphetamine.

In 2012, there were 19, 352 arrests for drug use, 4,448 arrests for drug trafficking and 2,972 arrests for possession of drugs “not for personal use.”

Amsterdam Falafel Joint Takes Israelis for a Non-Kosher Ride

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

By the time they end up at Baba’s Grillroom in central Amsterdam, Israeli tourists tend to be somewhat distracted.

Situated near the famous Rembrandt Square, this popular and veteran falafel eatery is literally surrounded by pot-selling coffee shops that help make Amsterdam one of the top holiday destinations for Israelis — and especially for the young craving a cheap and top-quality high.

Giggly and thoroughly “mastoolim,” Hebrew slang for baked or stoned, they are likely to experience another dope-related phenomenon: The munchies. And that’s a problem for observant Jews in a city that is not exactly famous for its selection of kosher foods.

How fortunate, then, to chance upon the entrance to Baba’s place, with its promising signs in Hebrew and stars of David. Those sober enough to remain skeptical despite the Jewish symbolism are welcome to see Baba’s kosher certificate — a document signed by three rabbis from the United States.

The only problem is that one of the rabbis is deceased and the other two say they never certified any business in Amsterdam, according to a Jan. 9 report by the NIW Dutch Jewish weekly.

Acting on a tip, the paper sent one of its reporters, Jigal Krant, on an undercover mission that involved dressing up like an Israeli tourist and asking (in English) about the kashrut at Baba’s. Staff showed Krant a certificate signed by three rabbis. But the two living rabbis told NIW they had no idea their name was being used by Baba’s.

When NIW confronted the owners — two Egyptian Christians named Hanna Basta Tawadrous, 48, and Nermin Angali, 34 — they denied ever claiming they had a certificate, which NIW had photographed. Apparently, the new owners bought Baba’s approximately a year ago. To NIW they explained that their meat is kosher because it’s halal. (The NIW report did not investigate whether the meat is, in fact, halal.)

This article was written for JTA by Cnaan Liphshiz.

Israeli Police Expose Palestinian Authority Drug Lab

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Israeli police exposed a drug lab in the Palestinian Authority city of Tulkarm, located on the western edge of Samaria and less than 15 miles from Netanya. A police spokesperson explained that Tulkarm was chosen as a site for the drug lab because it is not easily accessible to the Israeli Police

A large force of police and IDF soldiers surrounded and then entered a house, where they discovered a large marijuana factory and more than 120 plants. The drugs were to be distributed in the coastal Sharon area,. Over 120 plants were found. The lab was run by Arab residents of Taybe, located in the Arab-dominated area between Netanya, Umm el-Fahm east of Hadera and Kfar Saba.

The lab was exposed after the police had over the past several months arrested several drug dealers involved in the distribution of drugs which originated in this lab.

Pro-Marijuana Views Unite Feiglin and Lefitsts

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

On the bustling bourgeois avenue of Tel Aviv’s Ibn Givrol Street, beneath a portico and next to a high-end hair salon, it smells like college.

Aside from a small green sign, the clinic is unidentifiable, its one window blocked with a sheet and covered with chains. A single metal door is guarded by a man with a large knit kippa, fringes from his tzitzis and a holster hanging below his belt.

Behind the door is the main distribution center of Tikun Olam, Israel’s principal supplier of medical cannabis. Some 11,000 Israelis take the drug legally to treat ailments ranging from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder. But activists say the approval process for marijuana prescriptions is cumbersome, requiring patients to appear before a committee on cannabis use to determine their eligibility.

“We believe that you need to expand access to it,” said Ma’ayan Weisberg, Tikun Olam’s public relations director. “The government is taking a long time. Not everyone who needs it gets it.”

Leading the charge to change is an unlikely figure, the Likud party’s Moshe Feiglin, a resident of the Ginot Shomron community in Samaria and best known for his solid advocacy of a Jewish presence in all of Judea and Samaria.

His political views kept him of the Likud’s list of Knesset candidates for years and also caused Britain to ban him from entering.

Feiglin finally won a a relatively top spot on the Likud list and was elected to the Knesset in this year’s elections and promptly proposed to broaden access to medical marijuana by allowing any family physician to prescribe it. Eventually he hopes to push for full legalization.

“I support freedom, especially when we’re talking about something less dangerous than cigarettes or alcohol,” Feiglin told JTA. “People can be healed, and [current laws] are denying that.”

He considers himself a libertarian, albeit one with a religious bent. His opposition to a plan to issue biometric identification cards to Israelis and his longtime support for unfettered Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria  are, Feiglin says, of the same cloth as his support for marijuana use.

“The root of freedom is the belief in one God,” he said. “We worship him and therefore we can’t be enslaved to anyone else. An eternal nation doesn’t work against natural history, and our return to our land, to national sovereignty, means we’re connected forever.”

Feiglin’s push for legalization has landed him with some strange bedfellows. He considers Tamar Zandberg, another first-time lawmaker from the far-left Meretz party, one of his strongest allies on the issue. Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich also supports loosening restrictions on medical cannabis, though she opposes outright legalization.

“Feiglin and I don’t agree on almost anything,” Zandberg told JTA. “But on this we have a shared goal.”

Feiglin’s support for liberalizing the marijuana laws in Israel derives, in part, from personal considerations. His wife suffers from Parkinson’s disease and uses cannabis to alleviate her symptoms.

Not everyone who supports increased marijuana access backs full legalization. Hebrew University professor Raphael Mechoulam, a leading cannabis researcher, believes the drug should be decriminalized to prevent excessive arrests, but draws a line at full legalization.

“I wouldn’t want to be in a taxi or a plane where the driver is high,” Mechoulam said. “There’s a certain limit. You need the backing of the people. I’m not sure the people in Israel are ready and in favor of legalization.”

Feiglin also harbors reservations about full legalization, noting that he doesn’t want to turn Tel Aviv into Amsterdam on the Mediterranean.

“I don’t see Amsterdam as a bad thing,” he adds quickly. “There’s no chaos, there’s more freedom for citizens. [Legalization] didn’t upend the way of life.”

And though cannabis is consumed in his house due to his wife’s illness, Feiglin says that at least for now, he chooses not to inhale.

“I don’t take aspirin,” he said. “I don’t like putting things in my body. I like leaving the vessel of God as it is. But I would be happy to know that I could use it if I wanted to.”

This article was written by Ben Sales for JTA

Legalizing Marijuana Would End Black Market, Says Israeli Study

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Legalizing marijuana would generate more than $450 million annually for the Israeli economy, according to  a new study released by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies.

The black market for cannabis in Israel currently is worth $707 million annually, and legalizing the sale of grass, if taxed like cigarettes, would blow $268 million into the government’s money pot. In addition, it would save law enforcement agencies $198 million since they would not have to spend money to smokers of weed.

The study found that approximately 275,000 Israelis, 4 percent of the population, used marijuana in the past year, only 26 percent of Israelis support legalization of marijuana, while 64 percent opposes it.

In the United States, slightly more than half go those surveyed support legalizing grass. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, but 20 states to allow the use of medical marijuana. However, the Obama administration last week gave the green light for Colorado and Washington to carry  out their laws to permit recreational use of marijuana.

The Justice Department said it would bring charges on marijuana only in certain cases, such as distributing it to minors.

The announcement “demonstrates the sort of political vision and foresight from the White House we’ve been seeking for a long time,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group.

The Justice Department added that it is watching Colorado and Washington closely to see  if they can properly control marijuana use.

President Barack Obama has said he smoked grass when he was young, and a federal survey has found that 42 percent of Americans age 12 and older have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives.

The financial gains for states – and Israel is not being ignored,

“Recognizing the enormous financial gains that would come from legalization demands that the government take a serious look at the proposal to legalize cannabis use under specific guidelines,” said Yarden Gazit, who co-authored the study in Israel.  “There is no disputing that if the public is able to get past the wholly negative misperceptions associated with marijuana usage and appreciate the potential benefits with limited social or healthcare costs, this is an idea that needs open-minded and serious re-examination at this time.”

News of the survey coincided with Canada’s launch of controlled medical marijuana, an industry that is expected to be worth more than $1 billion in the next 10 years. Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada for years but has been highly regulated. Now it is available by mail-order with a doctor’s approval.

Besides all of the arguments  over whether marijuana is a drug that can lead to addiction, the underlying desire for governments to legalize it is money.

“We’re fairly confident that we’ll have a healthy commercial industry in time,” Sophie Galarneau, a senior Health Canada official told the Canadian Press.  

The Green Leaf party in Israel has been trying to get into the Knesset for years to push its agenda to legalize pot. In early pre-election polls, it usually receives support that puts it on the brink of winning the minimum number of votes to win Knesset seats, but when the real ballots are counted, it always loses out.

The pro-marijuana campaigns in the United States may generate new enthusiasm to legalize marijuana in Israel, where liberal leaders  almost always turn to American for cultural guidance.

Portland, Maine media reported Wednesday that supports of legalizing recreation marijuana will start promoting their agenda on city buses, with a message that grass is a better and safer alternative to alcohol.

Critics have complained that the campaign should not be on buses because children ride them to school.

Portland’s voter will go the ballot box in November to decide on a proposal to legalize marijuana by 2016. I

The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project has targeted Maine and nine other states in its campaign to legalize grass within three years.

The JTA contributed to this report.

Israel Rabbi Says Marijuana ‘Kosher’ if Medicinal

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

An Israeli Orthodox rabbi ruled that distributing and smoking medicinal marijuana is kosher, but using weed for fun is forbidden.

Ephraim Zalmanovich, the rabbi of Mazkeret Batia, a town south of Tel Aviv, made the distinction in a recent halachic ruling, NRG, the news site of the Maariv daily reported on Friday. Leading rabbis frequently weigh in on matters of reconciling halacha, or Jewish law, with modern living.

Rabbi Zalmanovich’s ruling modifies an opinion by Rabbi Chaggai Bar Giora, who in March told Israel’s Magazin Canabis, “If you smoke it, there is no problem whatsoever.”

Rabbi Zalmanovich, the author of a book on alcoholism in Judaism, said, “Taking drugs to escape this world in any excessive way is certainly forbidden.”

However, if the drug is administered to relieve pain, then the person giving it is “performing a mitzvah,” and the person using the drug is using it “in a kosher fashion.”

Approximately 11,000 Israelis use medicinal marijuana, including people with post-traumatic disorders and Parkinson’s disease, according to the Israeli health ministry.

Tel Aviv U Researcher Says Marijuana Can Halt Brain Damage

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Extremely low doses of marijuana’s psychoactive component can protect the brain before and after injury, according to Tel Aviv University Prof. Yosef Sarne.

Medical cannabis is often used by sufferers of chronic ailments, including cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder, to combat pain, insomnia, lack of appetite, and other symptoms but has not been  identified as being able to prevent damage to the body.

Prof. Sarne of the Adelson Center for the Biology of Addictive Diseases says that the drug has neuroprotective qualities and that extremely low doses of THC –  the psychoactive component of marijuana – protects the brain from long-term cognitive damage in the wake of injury from lack of oxygen, seizures, or toxic drugs. Brain damage can have consequences ranging from mild cognitive deficits to severe neurological damage.

Previous studies focused on injecting high doses of THC within a very short time frame of approximately 30 minutes  before or after injury. Prof. Sarne’s current research, published in the journals Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research, demonstrates that even extremely low doses of THC around 1,000 to 10,000 times less than that in a conventional marijuana cigarette and administered over a wide window of up to seven days before or one to three days after injury can jumpstart biochemical processes which protect brain cells and preserve cognitive function over time.

This treatment, especially in light of the long time frame for administration and the low dosage, could be applicable to many cases of brain injury and be safer over time, Prof. Sarne says.

In the lab, the researchers injected mice with a single low dose of THC either before or after exposing them to brain trauma. A control group of mice sustained brain injury but did not receive the THC treatment. When the mice were examined three to seven weeks after initial injury, recipients of the THC treatment performed better in behavioral tests measuring learning and memory. Additionally, biochemical studies showed heightened amounts of neuroprotective chemicals in the treatment group compared to the control group.

The use of THC can prevent long-term cognitive damage that results from brain injury, the researchers conclude. One explanation for this effect is pre- and post-conditioning, whereby the drug causes minute damage to the brain to build resistance and trigger protective measures in the face of much more severe injury, explains Prof. Sarne. The low dosage of THC is crucial to initiating this process without causing too much initial damage.

According to Prof. Sarne, there are several practical benefits to this treatment plan.

Due to the long therapeutic time window, this treatment can be used not only to treat injury after the fact, but also to prevent injury that might occur in the future.

For example, cardiopulmonary heart-lung machines used in open heart surgery carry the risk of interrupting the blood supply to the brain, and the drug can be delivered beforehand as a preventive measure. In addition, the low dosage makes it safe for regular use in patients at constant risk of brain injury, such as epileptics or people at a high risk of heart attack.

Prof. Sarne is now working in collaboration with Prof. Edith Hochhauser of the Rabin Medical Center to test the ability of low doses of THC to prevent damage to the heart.

Preliminary results indicate that they will find the same protective phenomenon in relation to cardiac ischemia, in which the heart muscle receives insufficient blood flow.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/tel-aviv-u-researcher-says-marijuana-can-halt-brain-damage/2013/05/31/

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