In response to the petition, the Health Ministry admits for the first time that the director of the Medical Center, Yuval Landstaff, approved the prohibited importation of cannabis from the United States, as revealed by Cannabis magazine. However, the ministry denies the importer's demand to destroy all cannabis products in Israel, as required.
In January of this year, Cannabis Magazine revealed the "The case of the drug suitcase"In which the director of the medical cannabis unit, Yuval Landstedt, approved the import of a suitcase filled with hundreds of small cannabis plants (cuttings) from the United States to a private company called Ilan Bio.
As a result of the exposure, the Ministry of Health ordered the company to destroy the produce, and immediately began a dispute between the company and the ministry, which is mainly the genetic source of the growing medical cannabis in Israel.
Since the end of 2016, there has been no procedure for importing cannabis genetics, either in seeds or cuttings. 8, the licensed growth companies that have operated since 2007-2010, have brought genetics in ways that are not known and have developed the cannabis varieties currently sold to patients.
Like the growth companies, Ilan Bio did not, as stated, hold proof of origin for the genetics it held. However, Ilan Bio has also received approval from the director of the Land Registry Administration to introduce genetics into Israel.
After the company's requests to approve it to hold genetics were rejected, last week Ilan Bio A petition to the court Against the Ministry of Health and against all the other tumor companies, demanding that the court order the destruction of all products originating in unknown genetics, similar to the instructions given to it.
"Most of the medical cannabis grown and sold in Israel by the various growers for years, is based on genetic sources that were imported illegally and illegally in Israel over the years," they claimed. "Despite this, YKR did not demand that any of the other growers destroy medical cannabis. This demand was raised only to the applicant. "
Today, the Health Ministry and the eight medical cannabis companies have submitted their response to the petition, while Panaxia and Cannablis, which have also been sued, have not yet filed a legal response to the proceedings.
"A disguise for a commercial dispute"
At the beginning of his response to the petition, the Ministry of Health, represented in this case by Attorney Ahva Berman of the Jerusalem District Attorney's Office, claims that Ilan Bio is petitioning in order to obtain a commercial advantage over the other companies and therefore the demand should be disqualified.
"This petition seeks to wear the guise of attacking an administrative decision of the Authority, whereas in reality it is entirely disguised as a disguise for a commercial dispute between competitors and the Petitioner's request to obtain an economic advantage over its competitors or to harm them seriously, without purpose."
Regarding the sources of genetics from which cannabis plants grow in Israel, the Ministry of Health admits that the source is not known, but states that "these companies have existing licenses to grow medical cannabis that have been operating in the field for several years based on their genetics, "He said.
According to the ministry, the growth companies, although not known for their genetics, "are in the midst of proceedings, including the regulation of a clear and proper source of genetics for crops, whether by importing new genetics or otherwise, or demonstrating the proper origin of their genetics today, The adjustment process. "
The ministry agrees with Ilan Bio's claim that some of the products currently sold in pharmacies as part of the pilot were manufactured "from raw materials on the basis of existing genetics for years and not based on new genetics," but since this is only a pilot, The office.
"Thought it was good faith"
The ministry states that the petition should be rejected and companies should not be ordered to destroy their medical cannabis and not to order them not to sell or supply medical cannabis or to keep it, as Ilan Bio demanded, to separate legal cannabis from a known source and cannabis "Its genetic origin is unknown.
The Ministry of Health further clarified that Ilan Bio was granted a license for agricultural research only, which does not allow it to sell cannabis or its products to a third party, and therefore there is no justification for the petition. "Either the petitioner uses the 'me too you will not be' approach, or she wishes to create a future commercial advantage over her competitors," it was claimed.
Regarding the demand by Ilan Bio that the cannabis production of the companies be destroyed, the Ministry of Health makes it clear that this is a serious injury not only to the companies, but first and foremost to the patients, and therefore it is unacceptable.
Regarding the smuggling of cannabis cuttings, the Health Ministry admits for the first time that the introduction of genetics from the United States to Israel was carried out unlawfully and that the procedure carried out by Landstaff was contrary to the regulations. The permit granted to Landshft, he explains, "was given beyond the letter of the law because he thought it was a mistake in good faith."
The Ministry of Health ignores the fact that the instruction given to Ilan Bio to destroy the produce was due to the discovery of the affair by Cannabis Magazine, claiming only that the company had the opportunity to present a certificate from the country of origin.
"False petition - everything is done with the approval of the Health Ministry"
Better, which is represented by attorneys Ofer Shapira, Liat Vigdor and Tal Farjun, did not directly address the claim of an unknown source of genetics, but makes it clear that all of its activities are backed up by a license from the Ministry of Health.
According to the company, the petition is a futile procedure that will cause serious damage to both the company and the 4,000 patients receiving the medical cannabis supply. "This petition is a clear and outrageous example of the intolerable ease with which interested parties can abuse the judicial process in order to promote various interests while submitting futile proceedings," he claimed.
The other growing companies (Tikun Olam, Aspiration for Life, IMC, Kendok, Teva Adir, Sheikh, Pharmocene), represented by attorneys Roi Blecher and Muhand Nasser, About the genetics of cannabis in their possession that allegedly came without the necessary permits, and made it clear that they were done with the approval of the Ministry of Health.
The companies claim that until 2016, there was no procedure for the importation of Cannabis genetics, and therefore they did not violate any such procedure - unlike Ilan Bio, which began operations in the field after that date. "The Minister of Health is empowered to establish procedures for the import and transit of drugs including medical cannabis and respondents acted all along the way in accordance with procedures," it was written.
The petitioners harshly criticize Ilan Bio for its handling of the affair: "The petitioner, who was caught importing medical cannabis in tortuous ways and in fact admitted that when she chose to destroy the medical cannabis that she imported, now raises groundless claims that she will die with the Philistines. The Ministry of Health acted lawfully when ordering the extermination, while another 'Ilan Bio' presumed that it would not hasten to destroy the crop, which it claims was invested in a million dollars.
The companies also detail the alleged course of events alleged by Ilan Bio: "On 21.11.2016, BioLineRx announced to the Ministry of Health that on the 23.11.2016 date, the cutoffs will arrive in Israel through the Petitioner's guests. This strange, last-minute announcement that a large number of cannabis cuttings will be imported by means of a 'guest' in the form of 'personal import', without security or through a shipping company, raises real wonder. "
In addition, following the examination of the documents, the companies found that Ilan Bio had stated at customs that the value of the cuttings imported into Israel in the suitcase was 20 only. "How could hundreds of cuttings imported from the US cost such a small amount," they wondered.
The companies also warn of harming tens of thousands of medical cannabis patients if the court meets Ilan Bio's demands to stop the distribution and destroy medical cannabis in Israel. They also state that if Ilan Bio truly acted honestly, it would have appealed the order it received to destroy the imported produce, and was not acting against the other companies.