Medical Cannabis Shops in Ann Arbor: Review

Medical Cannabis Shops in Ann Arbor: Review

NOTE: If you have a valid medical marijuana card from any legal state, you can purchase at Michigan dispensaries. Michigan has reciprocity with any state that has legalized medical cannabis.

Ann Arbor Medical Cannabis Dispensaries: Review

Cannabis in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI is ground zero for the cannabis legalization movement. Way back in 1972 Ann Arbor decriminalized marijuana. The city council overwhelmingly voted to make possession a $5 fine as a misdemeanor. Inflation has ravaged the fine and now it’s $25, but … WAIT!!! Cannabis is legal in Michigan. As of the Nov 2018 election, there are no fines or arrests for having cannabis in your possession. While it is legal to possess, it is not legal to smoke in public. Nor can you buy it yet without a valid medical marijuana card. In 1972, Ann Arbor was the first city in the U.S. to recognize that people were consuming cannabis and the police were spending too much time ‘busting’ people with cannabis. These people were mostly students at the little university in town; Michigan. Fast forward. In 2008 Michigan legalized medical marihuana (the state’s retro spelling for some reason), and Ann Arbor was at the forefront again with dispensaries, called provisioning centers in Michigan legalese.

There are lots of dispensaries in Ann Arbor. How are they run? Do any stand out from the pack? Yes.

As on now in 2019, there are only medical marijuana shops in Michigan. Adult use cannabis shops will open in 2020.  The current crop of dispensaries in Ann Arbor are a microcosm of dispensaries all over the country. While cannabis is legal in many places, is not normalized anywhere yet. If you have any doubts, you need only look as far as Colorado where the dispensaries mostly have a sameness to them. Little (or big) anteroom at the front where you can sit while you wait to go into the sanctum sanctorum where the ‘stuff’ is kept and sold. And only one person is allowed in at a time…usually. Michigan dispensaries are built on that model. At the end of the day, these are all retail stores. They have retail design that makes people feel comfortable or not. They treat customers as if they really wanted them back. Or not. It’s retail. The same as a liquor store. There are too many dispensaries in Ann Arbor to review for this story and if I left you out, I apologize.

Almost all dispensaries in Ann Arbor offer a ‘deal’ the first time you sign up to purchase their products. And all will be happy to send you a daily text about “Medible Mondays” or “WOWIE Wednesdays.” Rather than a daily deal which is designed to bring people into the dispensaries frequently, I’d rather have good, stable prices. Prices that reflect the buzz and not the percent of THC in the flower. But that’s my own axe to grind. Currently, almost all prices are reflected in the quantity of THC and not the quality of the whole flower.

What Was Reviewed and how?

This analysis consists of my thoughts on each of the dispensaries reviewed. I considered the ambiance, as in “How does it feel inside? The selection of products How balanced is the selection? Is there ‘something for me? The knowledge of the budtenders. Do the budtenders know and understand the medical uses for each strain along with the terpene profile? And finally, price. I won’t say too much about that, because mostly they’re in line with one another and sadly the prices seem to be wholly dependent of percentages. The percent of THC certainly doesn’t have a real bearing on the quality of the cannabis. That depends on a more holistic view of the plant; THC, CBD terpenes and other cannabinol compounds present in the mix.

A word about packaging. Most dispensaries pre-weigh their cannabis flower. I don’t mind that so much although I don’t get any choice about which particular buds I might want to buy. Most (but not all) dispensaries sell their single grams in a teensy plastic zip lock bag. Personally, I dislike (dislike might not be a strong enough word) the “zip-lock” packaging. It’s prone to delivering dried and/or crushed bud and that’s not good. Larger quantities usually come in jars which are much better than the little plastic bags, but again, no choice of buds. The most common packaging I’ve seen in several states is a “pill jar” package which has the advantage of coming in several sizes, is almost, but not quite water proof for keeping your bud fresh. The very best packaging I’ve ever seen is a metal and cardboard tin where  While I don’t necessarily want the biggest buds, I do photograph them a lot so a bigger bud is sometimes what I need. At home, I store my bud in small mason jars with a 62% humidity pouch. It keeps it fresh that way.

Ann Arbor, MI Medical Dispensaries

Om of Medicine (112 S. Main St.) One of the older shops in Ann Arbor. They used to be on the third floor of a building on Main Street, but recently moved into a Main Street storefront that gives them far easier access. I really enjoy their friendliness and selection. Always a smile. And a lot of good usable knowledge. Once you’ve shown your card and ID, you can walk into their very large lobby with lots of green plants on one of the walls along with a whole bunch of art. When It’s your turn, someone comes to get you and you’re ushered into a small room where you can make your purchases. If you have a specific effect you’re looking for, they will fill the bill.

Bloom City Club (423 Miller Ave.)Operated by women, this dispensary has a nice homey and relaxed feeling that just makes you feel good. At Bloom, everything you buy is weighed individually. This is only one of two dispensaries that I’ve seen in Ann Arbor that does this. Maybe this will disappear, but I hope not. It’s a kind of personalization that customers like and maybe why the store is almost always crowded. As long as they keep doing it, there is a selection of flower kept in individual humidified containers and you can pick out the buds you want, if you’d like. Their flower selection is wide and deep and their various concentrates and edibles they sell is also pretty vast. Bloom certainly goes out of their way to make you feel good about what you’re purchasing. An interesting note about Bloom is they seem to have high turnover in staff. The last time I was in (this week) there wasn’t anyone I recognized.

LiV Wellness & Cafe, 603 E. William St.— Not easy to find even though right downtown by the UofM campus. A tiny door wedged between parts of a popular pizza shop on William and Maynard and upstairs. When you do find it, Liv is worth the search. They probably has the best selection of cannabis in the city. It might not be the fanciest, but it’s a huge selection. Besides Bloom City Club, Liv is the only store that weighs the bud right in front of your eyes. While I do enjoy kief and water wash bubble, their selections of concentrates and edibles is large. The budtenders are friendly and generally possess good knowledge of different cannabis strains.

 

 

Greenstone Society, 338 S. Ashley St. – This dispensary is less than a block from where I live, so it’s a natural for me. I’ve had different experiences here. Once I went there and the budtender was very um, clipped. It was as though she couldn’t wait to get me out of her hair. Certainly didn’t make me feel good. I’d have to say retail was not her calling. However, every other time I’ve been there, I’ve had incredibly nice experiences. Their selection might not be the largest, but it’s certainly good quality in everything.

 

Treecity Health Collective, 2730 Jackson Ave. – This dispensary is right next to I-94 at Jackson Road. It’s not easy to find, situated in a corner of a little strip center. Pleasant entry area where you show your ID and sing the crazy stuff they, and every other dispensary in Michigan, make you sign every time you go in. Inside the shop part has lots of glass cases, The selection is usually small, but high quality. The budtenders here are generally quite knowledgeable and the packaging for anything over a gram is sealed glass. I kind of like that.

Medicine Man of Ann Arbor, 2793 Plymouth Road – Out in the ‘burbs of East Ann Arbor, Medicina Man is a bit different. It’s on the 2nd floor of a small office space on Plymouth Rd. You have to drive into the lot and find it on the east side of the building, then walk up the stairs. At the top of the stairs, you essentially walk into the retail part of the shop. Their selection is pretty well curated, but I will say I got some dried out and not very good bud there once. Budtenders were modestly knowledgeable, but enough for an experienced user. Some of the other dispensaries might be a better choice for a newer consumer.

Arbors Wellness, 321 E. Liberty – Located in an old house in the center of town, Arbor’s Wellness does a good job with product and budtenders with product knowledge. The packaging is standard with grams in zip bags. One thing I’ve found; If you’re walking on Liberty, you’ll be able to see the little sign, but where do you go in. You have to go to a side door through a path that feels a slight bit like a maze. When you go in, it can be a bit disconcerting as to where to check in with your medical ID and driver’s license, then when you leave, there’s more of a maze to get out. Maybe it’s a test?

Exclusive Provisioners – In an industrial Park on the far south side of Ann Arbor. Walk in and a little window (which I missed) was on the right. That’s it. Bare lobby nothing at all in there. No place to sit. Fellow at the front window was a bit gruff, but that was OK, no harm done. This company used to be called Canniseur (yep, close to our name) and were located closer to downtown. I don’t know when or why they moved. I’d been in there a long time ago, and I do recall it being operated by hippie types. The same people are there. They are sweet, but a bit of a throwback. Their knowledge was OK, but one of the budtenders didn’t even know what a terpene is. There wasn’t a ton of thought put into the design of the interior. Just some old store counter (probably from an auction) along three walls and that’s it. There might have been a poster on the wall, but it was innocuous. Selection was just OK and the quality was good. The prices seemed about the same or a dollar or so higher than almost all the other shops.

Arborside, 1818 Packard St. – Packard is one of the main streets in Ann Arbor. This store only has a store number on it and the numbers are big, but as long as you know the number, you’re good. A bit strange inside, but nice. After you check in, there are lots of places you can sit. When you’re called inside, the budtenders are quite nice and knowledgeable. I can’t really say it’s decorated inside. There were posters, but that’s about it. The selection, while not vast proved to be of better than average quality. I liked that.

Peoples Choice, 2245 W. Liberty St. – I visited this place once. It’s in a little light industrial strip center, so you have to look for them. Apparently they did not reopen after the Michigan craziness of January and February, even though the storefront is there. They do have a business in Jackson about 30 miles west of Ann Arbor. For now, even though they say they’re going to reopen, they are out of business.

Antidepressants Can Kill You, Study Says, So People Are Turning to Cannabis

Antidepressants Can Kill You, Study Says, So People Are Turning to Cannabis

[Canniseur: A perfect example of how cannabis should have been used over the years, instead of prescription drugs. Prescription antidepressants are dangerous. They do work for many people, but for others, they’re just dangerous.]

Many people struggling with depression are forgoing the use of antidepressants, for something more natural.

Some of Roger Kidder’s medications that he struggles to purchase since losing Medicaid. Thursday, May 30, 2013. (Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Last year, painkiller abuse claimed more lives than the Vietnam War claimed U.S. Soldiers. It’s no surprise, then, that more and more consumers are seeking less harmful alternatives to commonly prescribed painkillers. In fact, a survey published last year found that 63 percent of Canadian medical cannabis patients preferred the natural remedy to prescription drugs.Of those, 30 percent chose cannabis over opioid painkillers.

However, while opioids have been a hot topic over the past few years, new research suggests that there may be another epidemic among us: overuse of antidepressants.

While the drugs are often prescribed to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, data from McMaster University suggests that the medications significantly increase the risk of death not related to depression.

In a meta-analysis published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Associate Professor Paul Andrews and his team discovered that those on antidepressants face 33 percent greater risk of dying than non-consuming controls. The analysis included data from hundreds of thousands of patients across several different studies.


Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Another 14 percent of participants taking the drugs also faced a greater risk of cardiovascular complications than their control counterparts. These complications include heart attack and stroke.Why the increased risk? The most common type of antidepressant, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), can have an impact on some of the most vital organs in the body, not just the brain.

“We are very concerned by these results,” says Andrews to Science. “They suggest that we shouldn’t be taking antidepressant drugs without understanding precisely how they interact with the body.”

Yet, even without a firm understanding of the long-term physiological effects of SSRIs, they are still among the most prescribed medications in Western countries.

Over the past 15 years, rates of antidepressant consumption have jumped around the world. In the United States, consumption increased by 65 percent between 1999 and 2014. An approximate one in six Americans has been prescribed antidepressants. In fact, no other country consumes as many antidepressants as the United States.

In Canada, an estimated 86 out of every 1,000 people take some sort of antidepressant drug. This places Canada fourth on the list. Australians are a little more unhappy, with 89 out of every 1,000 consuming an antidepressant drug.

Unfortunately for many patients and prescribers, this new research places both parties between a rock and a hard place when it comes to finding safe and effective treatments. While antidepressants may have harmful side effects in the long-term, untreated depression can result in suicide.

Antidepressantscankillyou Voters, beware: We interviewed the Cannabis Candidate and hes full of it
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

With such high stakes, it’s not surprising that some patients are foregoing their conventional treatments in place of a more controversial natural remedy, cannabis.

It’s surprising given the herb’s euphoric reputation, but mental health ailments like anxiety and depression are some of the most common reasons why consumers pick up the herb.

A number of early preclinical studies have shown that cannabis compounds like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) do have antidepressant properties.  There is some animal evidence that suggests high doses of THC may exaggerate symptoms of depression, yet low to moderate doses have shown the opposite effect. Similarly, CBD is currently under investigation in the UK as an adjunct treatment for those with severe mental health ailments, like psychotic disorders.

Though cannabis is considered to have a large margin of safety, impactful clinical trials on cannabis or cannabis compounds for depression are few and far between. Years of legal barriers to research have blocked scientists from taking a serious look at the plant as a viable treatment for mental health ailments.

Yet, the lack of clinical trials hasn’t stopped patients from taking their chances with the herb. In the survey conducted among medical cannabis patients, 12 percent of respondents reported that they chose to consume the herb over pharmaceutical antidepressants.

Similarly, research published by Health Affairs found that Medicare dollars spent on antidepressant drugs have decreased in medical cannabis states. In total, medical cannabis laws saved Medicare $165 million in various prescription drug sales.

Numerous health advocates, including U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, have proposed investigating cannabis in a harm-reduction approach to the opioid crisis. Perhaps the same can be true for antidepressants.

Drugs like Prozac and other SSRIs may increase your risk of death in the long-haul, but how many have died from long-term cannabis complications? To this day, there has yet to be a single, reported case.

Beneficial Effects of Cannabis on Blood-Brain Barrier and Inflammation in HIV

Beneficial Effects of Cannabis on Blood-Brain Barrier and Inflammation in HIV

Below is an abstract from the most important AIDS conference in the US. It’s a bit scientific, but important reading. The whole paper was presented at the recent HIV conference in Seattle at the beginning of March. The Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) is a difficult issue in medicine since drugs meant for the brain are almost impossible to get across the BBB. This could have implications for further cannabis research about the BBB and the role of cannabis on crossing the barrier. The abstract begins below with a listing of the authors of the paper. This is just an abstract that speaks to the findings and not the paper itself.

 

Author(s): Ronald J. Ellis, Jennifer Iudicello, Erin Morgan, Brook Henry, Rachel Schrier, Mariana Cherner, Martin Hoenigl, Scott L. Letendre

University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA,University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA

Abstract Body:

HIV infection is associated with increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which may permit increased entry of toxins with consequent CNS injury. Cannabis, which is commonly used among people living with HIV (PLWH); has anti-inflammatory effects; and stabilizes the BBB in animal models. One potential mechanism of increased BBB permeability is upregulation of the urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), a matrix-degrading proteolytic enzyme, and its receptor, uPAR, disrupting the basal lamina around cerebral capillaries. This study sought to determine the effects of recent cannabis use on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of uPAR, CSF-to-serum albumin ratio (CSAR, an indicator of BBB permeability), and neuroinflammation among PLWH.

Participants were 45 recent (i.e., within the past month) cannabis users with (HIV+) or without HIV (HIV-) who were comparable in age (mean age=39.3) and sex (93.3% male). CSF levels of soluble uPAR, soluble CD14 (sCD14) and CXCL-10 were measured by immunoassay. Albumin was measured in CSF by nephelometry and in serum by a clinical assay. Data were analyzed using standard statistical methods, including regression and t-tests.

A statistically significant interaction (p=0.025) was present between HIV and cannabis use frequency (total days over the past month): more frequent use of cannabis was associated with lower concentrations of uPAR in CSF in the HIV+ group (p=0.043) but not in the HIV- group. The CSAR showed similar but non-statistically significant effects. Within the HIV+ group, higher CSF uPAR levels correlated with higher CSAR values (rho=0.47; pThese preliminary findings suggest that cannabis may have a beneficial impact on HIV-associated BBB injury and neuroinflammation. Given the role of the BBB in HIV-associated CNS injury, these results support the potential therapeutic role of cannabis among PLWH, and may have important treatment implications for antiretroviral therapy effectiveness and toxicity.

The conference was CROI – Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections

A WEED degree: Growing Number of US Colleges are Adding Cannabis Studies

A WEED degree: Growing Number of US Colleges are Adding Cannabis Studies

[Editor’s Note: It’s inevitable that universities will offer all manner of cannabis courses. I wonder which school will become the UC Davis of cannabis? UC Davis is ground zero for wine schools in the U.S.]

It’s predicted the industry will support nearly half a million jobs by 2022

  • The programs are designed to prepare students for jobs cultivating, researching, analyzing and marketing the herb
  • Around three hundred students signed up for the new four-year degree program in medicinal plant chemistry at Northern Michigan University 
  • In most of the colleges students work with hemp and other plants rather than marijuana but gain knowledge that can be applied to the cannabis industry 
  • Cannabis studies are also offered by colleges in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut even though recreational pot remains illegal in those states

A growing number of colleges are adding cannabis to the curriculum including schools in states where recreational marijuana remains illegal.

Research shows there are high times ahead for all kinds of careers in cannabis, ranging from greenhouse and dispensary operators to edible product developers, marketing specialists, quality assurance lab directors and pharmaceutical researchers.

Arcview Market Research, which focuses on cannabis industry trends, projects the industry will support 467,000 jobs by 2022.

And even in states where recreational marijuana remains illegal, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, some colleges have launched cannabis studies programs in anticipation of legalization or to prepare students for jobs in other states cultivating, researching, analyzing and marketing the herb.

Colton Welch, a junior at the State University of New York at Morrisville, New York, tends hydroponic tomato plants which will provide students with data applicable to cannabis cultivation
Colton Welch, a junior at the State University of New York at Morrisville, New York, tends hydroponic tomato plants which will provide students with data applicable to cannabis cultivation

Grace DeNoya is used to getting snickers when people learn she’s majoring in marijuana.

‘My friends make good-natured jokes about getting a degree in weed,’ said DeNoya, one of the first students in a new four-year degree program in medicinal plant chemistry at Northern Michigan University. ‘I say, ‘No, it’s a serious degree, a chemistry degree first and foremost. It’s hard work. Organic chemistry is a bear.”

‘We’re providing a fast track to get into the industry,’ said Brandon Canfield, a chemistry professor at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. Two years ago, he proposed a new major in medicinal plant chemistry after attending a conference where cannabis industry representatives spoke of an urgent need for analytical chemists for product quality assessment and assurance.

The four-year degree, which is the closest thing to a marijuana major at an accredited U.S. university, has drawn nearly 300 students from 48 states, Canfield said. Students won’t be growing marijuana, which was recently legalized by Michigan voters for recreational use. But Canfield said students will learn to measure and extract medicinal compounds from plants such as St. John’s Wort and ginseng and transfer that knowledge to marijuana.

ven in states where recreational marijuana remains illegal, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, some colleges have launched cannabis studies programs like the SUNY campus in Morrisville

Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, left, assistant professor of agriculture at State University of New York, Morrisville, and Kelly Hennigan, who is author of the cannabis minor and chair of the Horticulture Department, hold a tray of cannabis seedlings at the SUNY campus in Morrisville

Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, left, assistant professor of agriculture at State University of New York, Morrisville, and Kelly Hennigan, who is author of the cannabis minor and chair of the Horticulture Department, hold a tray of cannabis seedlings at the SUNY campus in Morrisville

A similar program is being launched at Minot State University in North Dakota this spring. The college said students will learn lab skills applicable to medical marijuana, hops, botanical supplements and food science industries.

‘All of our graduates are going to be qualified to be analysts in a lab setting,’ Canfield said, noting that experience could lead to a position paying $70,000 right out of school. Those wishing to start their own businesses can choose an entrepreneurial track that adds courses in accounting, legal issues and marketing.

‘I came in planning to do the bioanalytical track, maybe go work in a lab,’ said DeNoya, 27, who was considering nursing school when she heard about the NMU program. ‘I just switched to the entrepreneurial track. I figured that would better position me, as the industry is still expanding and changing and growing so much.’

The expected boom in cannabis-related jobs has colleges responding with a range of offerings. Colorado State University offers a cannabis studies minor focusing on social, legal, political and health impacts. Ohio State University, Harvard, the University of Denver and Vanderbilt offer classes on marijuana policy and law.

The new four-year degree program in medicinal plant chemistry at Northern Michigan University is the closest thing to a marijuana major at an accredited U.S. university. It has drawn nearly 300 students from 48 states

The new four-year degree program in medicinal plant chemistry at Northern Michigan University is the closest thing to a marijuana major at an accredited U.S. university. It has drawn nearly 300 students from 48 states

Universities have done little research on marijuana because of federal restrictions, but that’s starting to change. UCLA’s Cannabis Research Initiative, which bills itself as one of the first academic programs in the world dedicated to the study of cannabis, has studies underway ranging from medical treatments to economic impacts.

Agricultural schools are also getting in on the action. The University of Connecticut is launching a cannabis horticulture program this spring.

‘We’re following the market,’ said Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, an assistant professor at the State University of New York at Morrisville, a college in rural central New York that’s launched a new minor in cannabis studies in its horticulture department this year. Students work with hemp and other plants rather than marijuana, but can take internships at medical marijuana facilities, Jenkins said.

In New Jersey, Stockton University started an interdisciplinary cannabis minor last fall and recently forged an academic partnership with Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia that gives students the opportunity for internships and research work in medical marijuana and hemp.

Cannabis seedlings grow under lights as part of a research project by students in the new cannabis minor program at the State University of New York at MorrisvilleCannabis seedlings grow under lights as part of a research project by students in the new cannabis minor program at the State University of New York at Morrisville

‘Most of the students are interested in novel business opportunities,’ said Kathy Sedia, coordinator of the cannabis minor at Stockton.

Cannabis businesses range from medical and recreational marijuana to foods, fabrics and myriad other products derived from industrial hemp. The basis for all is the cannabis sativa plant.

Marijuana is produced by varieties with high levels of THC, the chemical compound that makes people high. Hemp has only a trace of THC, but produces cannabidiol, or CBD, used in a broad range of nutritional and therapeutic products that are all the rage right now.

Marijuana is legal for medical purposes in 33 states and as a recreational drug in 10. While marijuana remains illegal federally, the 2018 Farm bill cleared the way for widespread cultivation of hemp.

Colton Welch checks root development on hydroponic tomato plants which will provide students with data applicable to cannabis cultivation at the State University of New York at Morrisville
Colton Welch checks root development on hydroponic tomato plants which will provide students with data applicable to cannabis cultivation at the State University of New York at Morrisville.

In New York, where legislators are moving to legalize recreational use of marijuana, hemp has become a new source of income for farmers as well as jobs at processing and manufacturing businesses. The state’s first legal hemp crop was harvested in 2016 under a Morrisville research license, which gave rise to the new cannabis minor.

‘I see a lot more farmers reaching out and trying to find people who know about this new crop,’ said Colton Welch, an agriculture business student pursuing the cannabis minor at Morrisville. ‘We’re only beginning to see the wide application this plant has.’

Karson Humiston, founder of Vangst, an employment agency specializing in cannabis jobs, said the industry outlook is bright for students.

‘More jobs are being created in this space than in any other space in North America, with salaries sometimes more competitive than other industries,’ Humiston said. ‘With every new state that legalizes, tons of jobs are opening up.’

This article appeared in Daily Mail

Cannabis in Israel

Cannabis in Israel

High in the Holy Land

Whenever I visit a country (or a U.S. state) I look for ‘visible’ evidence that adult-use cannabis is at least tolerated, if not outright legal. I just returned from a visit to the holy land and found some very interesting things going on. Here’s a short synopsis of cannabis in Israel.

pomegranates in Israel

Israel Leads the World in Cannabis research

Israel has been the leader in medical cannabis research for the last 30 to 40 years. Two scientists, an Israeli and an American discovered the endocannabinoid  system in 1992. The Israeli scientist, Dr. Lumir Hanus, has become one of the world’s experts in the therapeutic value of cannabis. And cannabis is now kosher, at least in Israel. One of the chief rabbis in Israel actually blessed cannabis. So what could be wrong with cannabis in Israel? Is Israel the leader in adult use cannabis as well?

In Israel, most of the social laws are dictated by the very conservative Orthodox Jewish community. Most, but not all, orthodox sects (there are lots of sects) have very strict proscriptions on cannabis use. The non-secular community, which comprises a huge majority of the Israeli population, has no problem with cannabis. As I discovered, there are and there are not enforced proscriptions. Evidence, both anecdotal and directly from what I saw, showed me Israel isn’t as enlightened about cannabis as you might think or as the media suggests. It’s a little bit of enlightened and unenlightened. To really understand it you need to look at some of the other countries that have strong links with Israel, such as the United States where cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. While Israel doesn’t have states (it does have regions though)…the area of the country is probably too small … so there are only municipal/regional governments and the state of Israel itself. So there’s not going to be any state-by-state piecemeal legalization of cannabis like there is in the US.

What is the State of Cannabis in Israel?

Cannabis is everywhere in Israel, but nowhere at the same time. It’s not the first country where it has seemed that cannabis was everywhere, but nowhere to be found for a visitor. Medical cannabis is legal but dosages are highly restricted and regulated. If your physician thinks you need a 10mg dose per day for pain, that’s what you get. It might not be enough for you or it could be too much, but it’s what you get. If you need 20mg you’re out of luck. If you only need 5mg, you’re still SOL. Since everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different and everyone reacts differently to the effects of cannabis, it would seem the Israeli medical community that has embraced medical cannabis would get it. Medical science in Israel knows that everyone is different, but why a cancer patient can only get their 10mg per day (that’s a made up number) is beyond comprehension. The medical industry in Israel does not seem to take differing patient needs into account. How can one-size-fits-all be appropriate for each patient? It’s a good question and should be basic, but it seems to be ignored.

Recreational Cannabis in Israel is Illegal

Cannabis in IsraelDoes it seem to matter? Cannabis is everywhere. You can smell it in the souk in Tel Aviv. You can smell it on the streets, in buildings. Cannabis is everywhere. Except don’t smoke cannabis in public or you will get kicked out of wherever you are. You probably won’t be arrested or charged, but… Just. Don’t. Do. It. In public anyway. Behind closed doors, it’s fine, sort of. If you are in need of a bong, papers, or other cannabis accessories, you can easily find what you want in the souk or in one of the many head shops we saw when we were there. Israel has a certain puritanical streak. The Orthodox, with all their different stripes and types, are highly puritanical. And even though the Chief Rabbi in Israel has blessed cannabis as being OK, the Orthodox, for the most part, are still anti-cannabis. Except for Chassids and more specifically Chabad, who seem more tolerant, than standard run-of-the-mill orthodox. Go figure.

If you’re going to Israel and want to consume, be careful. It is pretty easy to find. It’s unbelievably easy to find cannabis in Israel. We were offered some more than once. I declined because I don’t like the idea of being arrested. And if you need medical cannabis for the allowable reasons, you can get it prescribed to you while in Israel. You need to find a physician and most Israeli physicians have some cannabis knowledge, but you can’t customize your dose.

Medical cannabis is easy to get if you just want to get high. Cannabis is hard to get if you need more than the official medical prescription dosage. Except on the black market where it’s easy.

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