Israel is poised to make marijuana recreationally legal by the end of 2022.In November of 2020, Israel announced “a road map to legalize cannabis potentially within one year and, in doing so, would create a regulated market for adult-use marijuana products largely based on Canada’s legalization model.” However, “unlike Canada and many U.S. states, it will not allow home grows (for now, at least),” according to Harris Bricken, an international law firm.
Israel’s Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn published the first draft of the Israel Cannabis Market Regulation Law for public comments. The Jerusalem Post reports that “Cannabis use will be allowed only inside residences, at least in the first year after the law goes into effect. The sale of cannabis will only be allowed to licensed dealers and will be sold only to those aged 21 and over. Soliciting or supplying cannabis to a minor will also be prohibited.”
Once passed, Israel will be able to fully capitalize on the cannabis market because of their scientific infrastructure they put in place previously. According to potguide.com, “In 2017, Hebrew University’s School of Pharmacy established their Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research, which employs over twenty-seven cannabis researchers. Besides the academic fields, Israel is also one of the global hotspots of private cannabis research and investment. In 2016 Israeli cannabis companies received $250 million in venture capital funding, half of which came from American investors.”
In fact, there is something fitting about Israel making marijuana legal due to its historical connection to cannabis. As reported in leafly.com, “On March 24, 1992, Lumír Hanuš, a Czech analytical chemist working in Israel with American pharmacologist William Devane, isolated the first known endocannabinoid in the human brain. They named it anandamide, after the Sanskrit word for joy or bliss.”
Although the Israeli Knesset made marijuana medically available several years ago, they have been hobbled in their efforts to enlarge this legislation because their coalition-style government requires extensive networking and negotiation. As Oren Lebovitch, editor of Israeli Cannabis Magazine stated in an interview , “Full legalization is a much longer and more complex process with changes to public policy that impact various ministries and legislation.”
However, most people feel Israel will eventually have a formal, detailed piece of legislation sooner rather than later. Once passed, Israel will become only the third country to nationally legalize recreational marijuana, joining the ranks of Uruguay and Canada, unless of course Mexico can get its act together first. Either way, the phrase “next year in Israel” never has a new twist.
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