The long and gruesome bureaucratic process required to receive a medical marijuana license is over after 100 doctors from within Israel’s public health sector received their certifications today (Wednesday) to sign and prescribe cannabis licenses on the spot.

Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

As of Thursday, the process to obtain a medical marijuana license will be shortened as an additional 100 doctors from within the public health sector will be certified to prescribe.  Today, a ceremony was held at Tel Hashomer Hospital in which the certificates were handed to the group of physicians. “The administration of cannabis becomes like that of any other drug,” said Dr. Moshe Zer-Zion, one of the newly certified doctors.

Until now, receiving a license involved a complicated bureaucratic process. Only Dr. Michael Dor, the deputy director of the medical cannabis unit at the Israeli Health Ministry was authorized to prescribe a medical marijuana license.

100 doctors received certifications at a ceremony at the Tel Hashomer Hospital

100 doctors received certifications at a ceremony at the Tel Hashomer Hospital Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Patients were first referred to a specialist from whom they would receive a recommendation that was then sent to the ministry. There, the request was examined by doctors working in the Medical Cannabis Unit which was then passed down to Dr. Dor for his final signature.

The cumbersome process had many implications for patients, including economic repercussions. In the past, patients needed to wait a long time, sometimes even over a year, to receive an appointment with a specialist at a pain clinic. Those who did not want to or could not wait could pay 1,400 NIS to go to a private clinic. However as of tomorrow, newly certified doctors will be able to prescribe a license at a fixed cost of 250 NIS, without any specialists’ recommendation or committee’s approval.