(from Maurice Kandiyoti's film "Ale yarok")
Shlomi Sendak began the struggle to recognize the medicinal qualities of cannabis in August 1994 when he wrote and published a booklet called "Essev Hassadeh – Marijuana, the 21st Century Miracle Drug."
Following the publication of the booklet, Mr. Sendak was interviewed on a prime-time television show while rolling and lightening a joint. That moment is considered as the official opening shot of the strive for legalization in Israel.
Due to his enormous efforts to help sick and suffering populations, the "Ala Association – citizens take responsibility" nominated Mr. Sendak as their candidate for the 2015 Israel Prize. Unfortunately, the panel of judges completely ignored their proposal.
Sendak and the Press
Mr. Sendak often explained that in the absence of budgets and economic resources, he had no choice but to use provocations to break through the media into the public awareness:
"Were they still willing to interview me about the booklet and the medicinal qualities of cannabis if I did not suggest to roll and light a joint in front of the camera on prime time?" wondered Sendak.
The media's response to the booklet and Sendak's provocation led to Sendak's first invitation to appear before the Knesset's Committee on Drug Abuse.
Later, he appeared many times in the Knesset, before the various committees all dealing with the medical use of cannabis. From time to time Sendak continued to use provocations as his weapon, especially when he found it would be essential in order to promote an urgent matter.
In 1997 he published his book "The Dry Period – The Journey to Legalization," which the local Tel Aviv newspaper defined as "a fascinating historical document."
Sendak's Political Life
In 1999, he accepted Boaz Wachtel's proposal to join the Green Leaf Party. The Party's motto was acted under the banner of legalization of soft drugs. Sendak was the party's second in line candidate in that year's elections:
"Marijuana can be an effective cure not only for cancer and AIDS but also for epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, headaches and migraines, asthma, glaucoma and the list goes on," said Sendak on the eve of the party's founding.
Only 8,000 votes were missing for the party to enter the Knesset.
During the 2006 and 2009 Sendak was again the Party's second in line candidate for Knesset (second place).
After the 2009 elections he decided to resign from the party and from politics in order to allow continue his journey without a political identity.
The Israeli Medical Cannabis Clinic
In 2009, due to severe back problems, Shlomi Sendak obtained his permit for Medical Cannabis. As a result he founded the Israeli Medical Cannabis Clinic, in which he helped thousands of Israeli patients to obtain a Medical Cannabis Permit.
Between 2009 and 2013, Sendak filmed and uploaded dozens of videos documenting the effectiveness of cannabis:
"The camera is my weapon, I'm not looking for prizes for the best movie and I'm willing to compromise on the quality of the editing " he said.
In 2013, published his book "The Campaign for the Liberation of Cannabis", which was in effect a kind of indictment against the then Director-General of the Ministry of Health, Prof. Roni Gamzu.
In 2017 the documentary film "Green Leaf" (directed by Morris Kandiotti) was broadcasted on Israeli television: The film gave its viewers a glimpse to Sendak's – "The Prophet / Guru of the Israeli Medical Cannabis" – more than 20 years activity of promoting medical cannabis in Israel.
Academic Courses and Lectures
In 2017, Sendak, together with Dr. Michael Dor of the Israeli Medical Cannabis Unit, initiated the first entrepreneurship course for Cannabis at the Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem.
In the same year, Sendak, in cooperation with the "Kana" association, initiated the first official course in Israel on how to grow cannabis.
Sendak is invited to lecture for diverse audiences, among which Medical professionals, Mental Health professionals, farmers, political debates and the general public.