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History of Marijuana Laws: 5 Key Dates in Israeli Policy

By    |   Thursday, 25 Jun 2015 08:57 PM

Scientists in Israel have long studied marijuana issues, with a history going back nearly 50 years. Today, the nation is set to become a global leader in research, production and export, some predict.

Here are five key dates in Israeli marijuana policy.

1. In the early 60s, chemist Raphael Mechoulam began pioneering work in cannabis study. Open policies within Israel allowed for his work, which looked into medicinal components inside the plant, Haaretz reported. Such research continues today, putting the young scientist in the vanguard of early researchers.

"He wanted to find what components in the plant were effective as medicines or had activity that could be utilized. Others were looking at other plants, and he decided to look at cannabis, because no one had looked at it," noted Dr. Alan Shackelford, a U.S. physician, told Haaretz.

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2. In 1995, after decades of fighting marijuana coming into the country, a committee of the Israeli government recommended that marijuana be legally distributed to people who were ill, according to the Jewish Journal.

3. Israel's Ministry of Health assigned in 2007 its first license to a medical marijuana patient, allowing that person to grow 50 cannabis plants, Salon reported. Such growing licenses have since expanded as about 18,000 Israelis have been granted permits to use medical marijuana. That number is expected to grow to 40,000 permits by 2018, Haaretz said.

4. In November 2014
, former Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein addressed a group of world media, explaining that the research group Tikun Olam had created a new strain of medical marijuana containing intense levels of cannabidiol (CBD) but one that was missing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient that makes users feel high.

Noted the Jewish Journal of the significance of the research: "This new strain could offer patients relief from various physical ailments, including chronic pain and seizures, without cannabis’ infamous psychedelic high."

5. In May 2015, a growing group of Israeli lawmakers urged the government to weaken laws on marijuana offenses, noting its growing importance in medicine. Members of Knesset, Israel's legislature, from different political parties joined a pro-marijuana rally, marching in the streets to encourage decriminalization, Whaxy.com reported.

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Scientists in Israel have long studied marijuana issues, with a history going back nearly 50 years. Today, the nation is set to become a global leader in research, production and export, some predict.
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