Meet the Cannabis
The Patient in the Interrogation Room
Mara moved to Israel from the US. A complication that occurred during a dental procedure left her with Trigeminal neuralgia – also known as the ‘suicide disease’.
She was unable to find any relief, only CBD oil brought ease from her pain, she ordered it from overseas but she did not know CBD oil is considered illegal in Israel.
“She found herself waiting on the bench among criminals, and again, she enters the room to see the same interrogator, and he shouts at her: “Tell me, are you insane? Are you here again? Are you ordering drugs from abroad again? Haven’t you learned your lesson?”
“Yes,” she replied, “But I’m still sick!”
Dad and Me
Tom is the author of “Cannabis Wars”. While struggling to help his father’s fight with cancer, Tom was introduced into the world of medical cannabis, discovered the system’s persistent objection to treatment with Cannabis, but also was privileged to meet the “underground Angels” that are always there assisting patients.
“I discovered a powerful and addictive drug in this journey – not the cannabis; but the opportunity to help others. That night, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like a victim.
I wasn’t absorbed in bitterness because of the campaign I was waging against the world. I had helped someone crawl out of the darkest pit, even if just momentarily.”
Sivan Mimouni RIP
Reform that Kills?
Sivan became publicly known after she shared her remarkable recovery story from cancer, thanks to the treatment with concentrated cannabis oil (Rick Simpson Oil).
After the medical cannabis reform prevented her from accessing the beneficial cannabis strains she needed, her cancer returned and she passed away at the age of 25.
“After learning more about my body and researching the subject of cannabis in depth, and understanding the strains that help me fight the cancer and what may be holding me back or even harming me, I am very worried for my life, honestly, due to the malicious moves of the Ministry of Health regarding cannabis treatment”.
Legalization or Incarceration
Shlomi founded the political party Ale Yarok (Green Leaf) and is one of the leading father figures of the cannabis legalization movment in Israel, he published a number of books about cannabis, and he is also the founder of ‘Etz Hadaat’ (Tree of knowledge) that specializes in assisting patients with issuing medical cannabis licenses.
“I’m full of rage towards them, they are truly screwing us all these years. Patients with asthma, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy, chronic pain, and cancer – have no access to the medicine because of lies by the establishment! “
Orin Penso RIP
Against All Odds
After fighting breast cancer and recovering, Orin was diagnosed with cancer again, Leukemia this time. She used Rick Simpson oil to treat the Leukemia, she needed large quantities of cannabis to produce RSO but the Israeli Ministry of health denied the required high dosage.
“I got to the point where I would look at the amount of oil left and say to myself, “I’ll take less today – it will affect me for less time, but I’ll have some left for tomorrow.” It was terrible.“
The Angel in Handcuffs
Nir is a cannabis activist and one of the underground Angels; he voluntarily assisted in extracting Rick Simpson oil out of medical cannabis for hundreds of cancer patients and was arrested for it twice. His trial is still goes on, and in the meantime he is banned from assisting patients acquire Rick Simpson oil.
“By ten o’clock in the morning, the first patient would be there for the preparation of the oil. The first shift of oil preparation was from 10 am until 4 pm, between four and five, I’d eat something and take the dog out, and then from 5 pm until 11 pm– the second shift would begin. There were days that the last patient left the house after midnight “
Abigail was forced to illegally smuggle cannabis oil from overseas for her son with Autism. She fought against the authorities and learned just how cold hearted and indifferent the system is. Later she founded “Cannafora” – Cannabis for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Challenges Treatment Center.
“Amiri, mother is now a drug smuggler. If they catch us, I’m going to say it’s you. Who will they believe; a 46-year-old woman or a guy your age?” This is how we dealt with the situation. We use a lot of humor at home around this subject. My sons know that their mother has no limits when it comes to them. She will go all out, and even God himself can’t stop her. “
The Unlucky Inmate
Golan suffers from PSTD and has a medical cannabis license. He was imprisoned for three years after arranging a group purchase of cannabis after the reform.
“I bought on the black market because the strains they were selling in pharmacies at that time were not helping patients. I sold at the price I bought, I couldn’t put up with getting industrial garbage, worse then what a16-year-old can grow in a pot,” he says. “The undercover cop said his girl was in hospital, I wanted to help him. But even if he was telling me openly that he was a cop, I didn’t care. I no longer cared about anything. I was broken.”
Irit Avisar Kling
The Nurse in the Green Robe
Irit is a certified nurse and lawyer, chairwoman of ‘the Israeli Association for medicinal cannabis nursing’, and the manager of a clinic for consulting and guiding patients with medical cannabis.
“I was a little put off by the thought of being “stoned”, but I tried – and it was amazing! Suddenly, I slept an entire night and woke up alert, with no stiffness or pain.“
The Plant Researcher
Nissim is a renowned plant researcher, prizewinner for lifetime achievement from the Ben-Gurion University, author of numerous books about medical herbs that have been published worldwide. He performed informal testing with cannabis brews for curing cancer patients, yielding good results.
“The study of course, was supposed to continue. To this day, I have no idea how I was discovered. At noon one day, I was sitting in my garden, and suddenly I saw forty policemen, with crowbars and hammers, coming up the road in my direction. They said, “Good day sir, open up.“
Dalit Mizrachi Machluf
The Angel’s Nanny
After her father was diagnosed with cancer, and despite his initial resistance to treatment with cannabis, with the help of Nir Youftaro, her father tried Rick Simpson Oil and experienced a full recovery.
Dalit became Nir’s right hand, and she continues to give support and guidance to patients, long after Nir’s incarceration.
“I burst into tears, I felt immense anxiety for Nir’s fate. It’s no secret that I love Nir and take care of him like a mother. I was ashamed that Nir, who saved my father, who helps so many helpless patients, has to go through all this. I was ashamed to have to tell his family that he was arrested again.”
Straight as an Arrow
Sarit worked in computers and had a standard life course until her father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She studied the options her father had, and eventually she discovered Rick Simpson Oil. Today she is voluntarily consulting medical cannabis patients.
“If I had known then what I know today, we would have started the oil treatment much earlier.“
This Hell is Where I Want to Be
Following an injury, Elad suffered from chronic pain syndrome. He discovered cannabis helps him manage the pain, learned from Rick Simpson how to prepare concerted oil, and dedicated his life to voluntarily assisting cancer patients.
“We all do things for ourselves, and we all want to gain something, either materially or spiritually, but how often do we get to change another person’s life for the better, to make it easier for him? This is the greatest privilege there is – the thing that fills me the most, pleases me the most. It’s the reason I do it.”
Dr. Bareket Schiff-Keren
The Doctor for Pain
Barket is a veteran pain doctor, one of the first doctors to treat with medical cannabis in Israel. She often finds herself confronted with ministry of health while trying to improve the condition of patients who turn to her.
“This is a non-toxic plant, which is not very addictive. So, why shouldn’t I prescribe it? It’s a treatment that works in so many cases. After all, what exactly is pain treatment? Or medical treatment, in general? We want to help people to live a good life, in a way that will enable them to optimize their chances, and achieve their optimum enjoyment from life. That’s all! We don’t pretend that we have superpowers.”
From an Angry Place to the Right Place
For years Neta suffered from pain and the doctors couldn’t find what was causing it, later she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and with time she founded the ‘Gevanim Shel Sagul’ association (shades of purple in Hebrew) – which aims to include Fibromyalgia among the illnesses treated with cannabis by the MOH indications.
“After I got the license, I asked to speak to a specific person from the Ministry of Health. I eventually met him, and he said to me, “You made it easy for us with the herniated disc.” I looked at him and said, “Easy? Wow!” I was a bit shocked by what he said. Then I added, “With fibromyalgia, I won’t be making your life easy for you. I’ll be here until it goes into the list of indications.“
Ben Ben Herut
Who Robbed Me of My Life?
After his friend killed herself in front of him when he was 16, Ben Ben used cannabis to deal with the post-trauma. After many years, he even obtained a license for it. Today he specializes in cannabis extracts and he helps many patients.
“The cannabis kept me sane, allowed me to function and stopped me from harming myself. I swore I would not rest until I made sure my children will not have to go through such ordeals.“
The Drug Smuggler who Became a Hospital
With Post-Trauma from his military service, followed by a long journey to the Far East, Oudi returned to Israel, was diagnosed with cancer and treated himself with concentrated Cannabis oil. He founded an “alternative hospital” for cancer patients, treated with cannabis oil, until the police shut it down.
“I make oil for patients. That’s just what I do. I don’t care about anything else. I’ve got no other plan. I’m not thinking about anything else. I have no other life.“
The Girl who Opened a Pandora’s Box
Dana suffers from muscle atrophy; she noticed that cannabis improves her condition. She was among the first patients in Israel to receive a license for medical cannabis. She is the founder and chairwoman of the “Medical Cannabis Foundation”.
“Once I stopped crying, it was the last time I cried because of something they did. That was the moment I realized that they were capable of anything.”
Adv. Hets-David Ozer
The Lobbyist for Consumers
Chetz-David is a lawyer, the chairman of the ‘Alea Yarok’ party (“Green Leaf” in Hebrew). For over a decade he is actively trying to stop the incrimination policy, promotes the regulation of the cannabis market. He has founded and led movements, organized protests, managed campaigns and served as the main lobbyist of the community of cannabis consumers as well as writing all the draft laws submitted so far regarding cannabis.
“I won’t agree to legislation that will try to stop me getting it through institutionalized violence. Even if the violence is perpetrated by a police officer – it does not justify it and it must stop. I am a cannabis user, and it doesn’t make any sense for the law to tell me that I’m a criminal.“
The Mothers’ Commando
Sigal is an activist for legalization. She was able to help her son ,with Autism, by using smuggled cannabis oil from overseas, as well as curing her skin from psoriasis.
“Then I thought, maybe the oil that E. was bringing for our children could help me with my hands. Then, a miracle! By applying a little, the dry skin started to change into healthy skin, my hands started opening up.
But I couldn’t take the children’s oil … We didn’t have enough.“
Dad Goes to the Parliament
Meir is father to a little girl with a rare Epilepsy, and suffers from PTSD caused by his army service; Meir fought the establishment to make cannabis legal for his daughter and for all the patients who need cannabis.
“I told them, “I want cannabis for my daughter. That’s the treatment I want!” And they responded: “This is a university hospital. We don’t give cannabis. Even if you get a cannabis permit, your child won’t be treated with cannabis here.” And there you have it. They stood at the entrance to the room and waited for us to leave.”
The Leader of the Underground
Israel is one of the founders of “the underground” – a secret organization that operates in order to make cannabis accessible for patients and recreational consumers alike.
“We operate using methods of guerrilla organizations. At any given moment, we have 50-100 people working for us. I know almost none of them personally and none of them know me. They don’t even know my name”
Between Love and Fear
Izhak discovered the benefits of the plant when it helped his grandfather and father when they had cancer. When his leg was nearly amputated because of a rare condition – he started intensively using special cannabis oil.
“I thought that it didn’t make any sense. The doctors touched my hand and called my name. I looked at them, drugged by the anesthetic, and the professor said to me, “I don’t know what you’ve been doing, but your bone looks like that of a 17-year-old boy. I’m going to leave you here for a few hours and then you’re free to go home.”
From the Hospital to the Courts
As an employee in a security company, Yaron didn’t touch cannabis, but when he got cancer and discovered the healing benefits of the plant, he fought the authorities when they wanted to take his medical cannabis.
“The judge turned to the people from the Health Ministry and asked: “Are you prepared to give him a partial amount in the meantime, until you investigate the matter?” I stood up and said, “Your Honor, I beg you to stop here. Are you trading on my health? Negotiating the quantity? I need the whole 250 grams. That’s my treatment. That’s what’s optimal for me. That is what I need!”
They have No Mercy, Even on Young Girls
When he understood from his doctor that he has about six months left to live, Ron decided to try Rick Simpson Oil – and it halted his cancer. When he found out that the system won’t give him the dosage he needs – he went on a protest campaign.
“I decided not to stay silent – I would wage war. Not for me, but for Sivan and others like her. This madness had to be stopped. I wrote endless posts on Facebook and described my desperate situation and that of other cancer patients.”
Dr. Johnny Greenfeld
Johnny is a doctor who made the cannabis accessible for many terminally ill patients, but paid a price for it, when the healthcare authorities revoked his ability to issue licenses with the required amounts for patients, later he left the healthcare system.
“The next day, she called and it was the conversation everyone wanted to hear: “Wow, Doctor, I’ve not seen him like this since the stroke. He’s calm, communicating, he’s not in pain. I just can’t believe what I’m seeing.“
Adv. Miriam Brainin
The Patients’ Advocate
Miriam is a lawyer who represented the medical cannabis patients in multiple instances in order to uphold their medical rights. She consults medical cannabis patients on how to deal with the healthcare system and to prevent the infringement on the patients’ right for medicinal cannabis treatment in the proper dosage.
“I don’t care. For me, they can sell their souls to the devil, make millions, drive Jaguar jeeps, do what they want, what do I care? Just don’t hurt the pitiful, vulnerable patients. And really, there are many pain-stricken, miserable, exhausted people. Each one of them has left me scarred. Each one of them is in my heart.“
Why Aren’t You Helping Them?
Gilad is a senior economist, the chairman of ‘Hofesh’ (freedom in Hebrew) party, and is an activist for cannabis legalization.
“I tried to explain to him the aspect of medical cannabis, I tried to tell him how much suffering people go through and how horrible it is. Why aren’t you helping them? But I could not move him an inch.”
When the Comedian is Crying
Gadi is a standup comedian who is well known for his voice regarding many social struggles, he reveals himself as a medical cannabis patient, and he voluntarily assists many patients, as well as fighting against the bullying of the police.
“My arguments have always been liberal, democratic, and not medical. But ironically, suddenly, I found myself with a brain tumor – a non-cancerous tumor that gave me severe headaches – and I was amazed to find that the only painkiller that really helped me was cannabis.”
Through the Lens of the Camera
Guy is the host of the TV show Ha’tzinor (‘the Pipeline’ in Hebrew), using his public platform to help the everyday people and exposing many social struggles.
“We are standing together now, without fear, in the face of this. We are looking straight at the law – and hitting this wall together.” It was very exciting.”
Amos Dov Silver
The Man Who Refused to Lie
Amos is one of the founders of Telegrass (a platform enabling the purchase of cannabis). He was arrested as a legalization activist, aranged the “Big Bong Night” in front of the Israeli parliament and openly posted cannabis on his Facebook as a form of protest.
He was imprisoned for over 3 years, even though he was never found guilty.
“Freedom is not a concept invented by man, but a natural state which is sometimes denied. The government’s restrictions on freedom are the problem, and not surplus or excess freedom.”
Who will Give Me Back All My Nights?
Gali is an activist for legalization and Amos Silvers’ life partner. She helps with contributions of cannabis for patients in need, she treated her grandmother who suffered from dementia with cannabis.
She left Israel after persecution from the authorities.
“Three more policemen entered the room and started beating, kicking and punching me. I lay on the floor, and then I went into a panic attack. I didn’t know how to deal with beatings from four policemen inside a police station. It felt like an eternity.“
The Spokesman for the Crime Organization
Ben is a journalist, left with PTSD following his military service. He discovered that Cannabis helps him cope with his condition. He joined the Telegrass website as an editor. Surpassingly, even though the website did not involve any form of trade and was purely informative, Ben was arrested and accused of being the spokesperson of a crime organization.
“When you see everything happening ‘live’ and such reactions, you can’t remain indifferent. You can’t ignore the fact that there is a problem, and you can’t help but be excited that you are actively becoming a part of the solution.“