Israel decriminalizes adult-use cannabis during Tel Aviv CannaTech conference

The country’s new cannabis laws are expected to go into effect imminently

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Possessing a homegrown cannabis plant in Israel is no longer punishable by law, thanks to a new batch of Israeli laws that decriminalize possession of the plant and its matter.

Israeli civilians who carry small amounts of weed on their person in public without first obtaining a doctor’s note will now be slammed with a fine, as opposed to facing criminal proceedings.

The law to decriminalize cannabis in Israel was signed into effect on April 1; the same day on which the fourth annual CannaTech conference took place in Tel Aviv. Israel’s former prime minister Ehud Barak was a keynote speaker at the event.

Barak currently assumes the role of chairman for an Israel-based medical cannabis company called Canndoc/Intercure. During his speech, he discussed the benefits of medical cannabis and joked that his country is transforming into “the land of milk, honey and cannabis.”

Politicians are moving from cannabis prohibitionists to proponents
(Pictured) Ehud Barak

Barak isn’t the only politician who has demonstrated his support for cannabis legalization after years of opposing the drug. An increasing number of politicians are changing their prohibitionist views on the plant and are becoming cannabis proponents, such as former U.S. Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

“Some 35 countries have already legalized cannabis to a certain extent, either for medical or sometimes even recreational use,” Barak declared during his keynote speech. “Two-thirds of U.S. states have approved medical cannabis; one-third [have approved] recreational use.”

Examples of some other pot-loving politicians who are urging for an altered perception on how the world sees weed include Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Rep. Sam Farr (D-California) and Rep. Early Blumenauer (D-Oregon), to name a few.


Israel to become one of the world’s top-earning cannabis markets

The future looks bright for Israel’s cannabis market, which is predicted to become one of the top-earning markets on a global scale. According to the Chief Marketing Officer of Tikun Olam, Stephen Gardner, Israel must be at the top of someone’s list if they are looking for a country “that is at the forefront of the cannabis industry.” In Hebrew, the company’s name means “repair the world.” It boasts 40 percent of the market share in Israel.

“From the early discoveries from Dr. Mechoulam to the significant work in identifying the endocannabinoid system, Israel has been leading the path for some of the most significant advancements in cannabis science,”  said the CMO. “As the first nation to legalize medical cannabis over a decade ago, Israel has allowed companies like Tikun Olam, as well as medical, research and educational institutions, to undertake the groundbreaking research that has created the basis for some of the advancements in this fast-growing industry,” he added.

Medical cannabis is currently available to Israeli patients who suffer from a range of terminal illnesses, such as epilepsy, cancer and Parkinson’s disease. More than 550 farms have submitted license requests to cultivate medical cannabis in Israel, according to Israel’s Ministry of Health. The country’s new cannabis laws are expected to go into effect imminently.