According to the report, the company, Sarel, is privately owned with an estimated 8 billion shekel ($2.2 billion) budget. It determines which providers can sell medical marijuana to the government for distribution. Feiglin’s stated desire is to expand medical marijuana distribution to patients, which could ultimately negatively affect the company’s interests.MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud), who supports the legalization of soft drugs, was threatened by a former MK of his party, Yehiel Hazan, who is also a close associate of the chief executive officer behind the company that has sole distribution rights for medical marijuana in Israel, a Channel 2 news report said on Monday.
In a taped conversation between Hazan and Feiglin’s assistant, Hazan can be heard saying, “The CEO of Sarel is my friend of many years, he lobbied, and he’s asked me for a little help. He told me, ‘Yehiel, we are ducking our heads all the time, in the end we’re going to fight, we’ll start getting dirty.’ Believe me, I am coming from a good place.”
Hazan also said, “I think the struggle against Sarel is going to hurt [Feiglin] in the end. I don’t want to say over the phone things I know they’re going to do. It’s a shame, truly a shame. I like what Moshe does, and it’s really a shame. What’s better? For Moshe to eat it afterward?”
When Feiglin’s assistant rebuffed Hazan’s remarks, the former MK continued. “You know that he is coming to me and telling me that patients have aligned with Likud? I said that if patients aligned with Likud in exchange for cannabis, that is corruption.”
“I don’t want them to put their money on Feiglin, and then in the end he’ll be left naked with them battling him,” he concluded.
Following the report on Sunday, Feiglin called on Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Health Minister Yael German to immediately withhold all communication with the Sarel group. Feiglin called for opening the medical marijuana market to true competition, and a speedy recovery in public health.
“I am also calling on them to approve the bill that I proposed, which is supposed to allow every patient whose doctor recommended medical cannabis treatment to get the immediate treatment the patient is entitled to,” he said.
In response to the Channel 2 report, former MK Hazan said: “MK Feiglin, a bitter political rival, is trying to take vengeance against me. Feiglin and his aides don’t discount a thing, they’ll use contrived, edited, partial and deceitful recordings, all in order to intimidate me, to silence me over the fact that I revealed Feiglin had brought illegal marijuana users to Likud. I am proud of my public and ideological battle, somebody who fought against drug use and is wholly opposed to Feiglin’s campaign.”
The Sarel group also responded to Channel 2’s report, saying, “Former Knesset member Hazan does not represent Sarel and is not under its employment. The comments being made, or that were made, by Hazan are his responsibility alone. We strongly reject any attempt to link what Mr. Hazan said with Sarel. The Health Ministry tasked Sarel with carrying out medical marijuana, and now the cannabis growers are working against Sarel to prevent it from opening up the market to free competition, which will make the price cheaper to the consumer and would hurt their profits.”