The three Supreme Court justices, headed by Justice Hanan Meltzer, yesterday presented the Health Ministry with demands that it would be difficult for its managers to meet, perhaps to the point of stopping or at least changing the medical cannabis reform.
As part of the medical cannabis reform, also known as pharmacy reform or "medicalization," the director of the medical cannabis unit, Yuval Landstaff, is trying to change the nature of cannabis supply and treatment in patients that has been the case until now.
Almost on his own, he formulated new procedures that are not based on sufficient science or research, according to experts in the field, leading to patients being forced to stop the treatment they were accustomed to, and to participate against their will in the first "experiment" of its kind in the world.
The claim that the "experiment" conducted by the patients in the framework of the new treatment of the reform (the "Green Book") was one of the main arguments of Attorney Miriam Brainin and Attorney Yasmin Mizrahi, who represented in the petition the medical cannabis association headed by Dana Bar-On.
Thus, for example, the petitioners claimed that in the framework of the reform it was determined that the cannabis treatment would be based entirely on one component of the plant (THC), ignoring hundreds of different components of the plant that together affect the nature of the treatment. Another key argument is the decision to reduce doses unilaterally, and to define different types of cannabis and different treatment phases for each disease based on research on synthetic cannabinoids and without adequate professional backup.
These arguments, and many others, including a severe shortage of cannabis in pharmacies and bureaucratic malfunctions that led to patients not receiving supplies and actually seriously injured, were brought by the attorneys to the Ministry of Health, represented by Adv. Ran Rosenberg of the State Attorney's Office.
During the hearing, the three judges, Hanan Meltzer, Neal Hendel and Noam Solberg, preferred to focus on the problems presented by the patients and ignored Rosenberg's legal arguments about delay in filing the petition.
Justice Meltzer also commented to the Health Ministry, including Llandseft himself, who was present in the courtroom that it was forbidden to conduct experiments on human beings and that caution should be exercised. "Rule number one is harmless," he explained, and asked Landstafft, "What will you do with patients who will be harmed by the new treatment? Who are not interested in the new treatment? What will happen if 30 submits a thousand petitions? "
Those present in the hall could see that the jury knew the subject well, since it was the same team that had tried a case earlier than 2013, when Landstein tried unsuccessfully to transfer the medical cannabis branch to the private company Sarel.
The judges asked to focus on two main issues: One is a solution to the use of pesticides, which the Ministry of Health has been instructed to present within three weeks on how they intend to allow patients to consume organic cannabis without pesticides.
The second issue, which is central to the petition, is the question of what medical cannabis patients who have become accustomed to the conditions in the current regulation will be satisfied with, and are forced, on the orders of the Ministry of Health and often against their will, to treat different types of cannabis.
This change in treatment, described by attorneys Brainin and Mizrahi as "human experimentation," is prohibited. They argue that the Ministry of Health should complete the reform, base it on science and research, and only then, after things are proven and working, to offer patients the possibility of new treatment, and even then - not as a duty.
"Patients should be allowed to continue on the path they have been in for a decade," the lawyers argued. "The autonomy of the individual is to choose whether to join this new thing, which is out of nothing, that it is not completely safe. The autonomy of the individual can not be abolished. Any expense from balancing can make the patient's life a bit more exciting. There is already a court ruling that it is forbidden to remove a person from a balance. It is inhuman. It is a clinical trial in humans. It is life-threatening.
But the Ministry of Health, which argued in the hearing that it would end the transfer of patients to the 7 within months, may find it difficult to respond to these two arguments as requested by the judges.
First, there is no definition of organic growth of cannabis without pesticides, and moreover, such organic growth is contrary to other procedures set out in the reform, does not permit quality assurance and is virtually impossible.
The Health Ministry will also find it difficult to provide a proper answer to the judge and to explain why they are changing the nature of the medical treatment of tens of thousands of patients without a solid scientific basis.
Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that in the next hearing, or even before the written responses of the parties to the court (to 20.6), the judges will immediately call for an immediate halt to the reform and define the Ministry of Health to allow the medical cannabis patients to remain in the current supply format rather than through the pharmacies.