Danino: Decriminalize cannabis but don't legalize it

Yohanan Danino Photo: Eyal Izhar

Former Israel Police Commissioner and cannabis company Together chairman Yohanan Danino spoke at the "Globes" Cannabis conference in Tel Aviv.

"I'm against legalization of cannabis. I don't think we should follow California's example, but I did talk about decriminalization. As a former police commissioner, an ordinary person rolling a joint on the porch doesn't concern me," former Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, chairperson of cannabis company Together Pharma (TASE: TGDR) said today in Tel Aviv at the "Globes - Cannabis: The Seeds of Revolution Conference."

"I don't want to spoil the party, but I oppose the use of cannabis by minors, criminals, and drivers, so I'm against full legalization," Danino added. "I do think that a bigger reform in the criminal sphere is needed, and I said so when I was in uniform." The moderator in the talk with Danino was "Globes" financial correspondent Ron Stein and senior "Globes" commentator Stella Korin-Lieber.

"I understand that this combination - police commissioner and cannabis - is arousing a great deal of curiosity. I don't use it, I have never used it, and I have no intention of doing so in the future. A lot of injustice has been done to medical cannabis because it was linked with crime and intoxication, but this isn't the case. Over the years, drug companies didn't invest in research and development in the sector, to the disadvantage mainly of the patients. Since I joined the field, I've been talking and meeting with patients, and I recommend that all of them do this. We hear amazing stories from them. These are people who paid thousands of shekels for pain relievers, and their lives have changed since they switched to medical cannabis oil."

Danino was asked why the sector attracted so many celebrities, including former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, and even singer Aviv Gefen. "The sector is seeking legitimacy and credibility, and these people can provide it. Experienced and talented managers are also involved. I was approached for both of these reasons," he answered. "My service in public positions was a consideration, but it wasn't the only reason. I have substantial managerial and business experience."

In view of the recent decline in the value of his company, he was asked whether the cannabis sector was a bubble sector. "The more I find out about it, the more I see that the sector isn't a bubble. What matters is the value. You have to look at capabilities in the professional aspect, research and development, personnel, and projected revenue. Medical cannabis is a very serious matter, not a bubble. Only now are countries like Italy and the UK starting to approve medical cannabis. This is something that Israel did a decade ago," Danino explained.

Talking about medical cannabis patients, Danino said, "Cannabis is one of the few drugs in which the patients understand more than the doctor giving the prescription. The doctors admit it."

Referring to Together Pharma's activity, Danino said, "It needs growing, manufacturing, and marketing. The future will be in research and development. We have to conduct long enough and scientifically valid studies."

As an investor in a digital insurance company and former chairperson of Migdal Insurance, Danino said, "Digital insurance is the future. I hope that in the future, we will be a very important insurance company."

Danino further commented on the rape of Batsheva, a child, in which an indictment against a prisoner in custody was withdrawn and a feeling of a fiasco is common. He was asked whether as a former police commissioner, he thought that it was time for the law enforcement authorities to take responsibility. "The indictment was withdrawn because of a lack of professionalism. It's a horrid act. It's a sad day for all Israelis. A lot more should and can be done. The perpetrator should be apprehended. The house must be put in order, and an investigation conducted to see how this happened. I realize that this is not just a police matter. The case demands it, and a permanent police commissioner should be appointed now."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 26, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Yohanan Danino Photo: Eyal Izhar
Yohanan Danino Photo: Eyal Izhar
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