Israel Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

Lukas Barfield

May 18th, 2017


While the United States on a Federal level seems to be going backwards at times with its marijuana policy, other countries are taking new approaches to marijuana enforcement. Portugal has famously decriminalized all drugs. Chile legalized medical cannabis in 2015, and is starting to dispense it this year. Their South American neighbor, Uruguay, legalized recreational cannabis in recent years. There is talk of legalizing recreational marijuana in Canada, AND everyone has heard of THE Dutch coffee shops. The latest country to change their marijuana policy on a national scale is Israel. Israel has taken another step toward marijuana normalization earlier this year by decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana possession, but their history with marijuana goes back over 50 years.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, was first isolated in the lab in Israel in 1964 by Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem’s Center for Research on Pain and Yechiel Gaoni of the Wiseman Institute. These ground breaking researchers in Israel also discovered the endocannabinoid system, a little known system in the body which interacts with THC and other cannabanoids, and the presence of naturally occurring cannabanoids in our bodies. These two discoveries revolutionized marijuana research, and laid the foundation for Israel’s embrace of medical marijuana in the future. Israel legalized Medical marijuana for a variety of conditions in the early 1990’s, and the military started using THC to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2004.   Israel, along with Canada and the Netherlands, has a national medical marijuana system. The Israeli government currently owns 8 medical marijuana growing facilities that supply all the medical marijuana for the country. The more recent reforms, including a vote to export medical marijuana and allowing patients to vape marijuana oil in public, can be attributed largely to Israel’s Health Minister, Yaakov Litzmann. The minister proposed a two part plan in 2015 in which the first part trained doctors and health providers on how to use medical marijuana in their treatments. The second part dispensed marijuana to patients throughout Israel. The country has also taken enormous steps in attracting medical cannabis researchers, which has fueled a medical marijuana research boom in the Holy Land.

Consequently, instead of waiting years for program approval like in the United States and other western countries, researchers have a much easier path to large scale human studies under Israel’s more liberal medical marijuana laws. Currently, there are over 100 medical marijuana research studies being conducted in Israel.  These reforms have attracted new eager investors to Israel like US based Steep Hill Labs who announced in March 2017 a joint venture with a domestic medical marijuana firm, ICan. The flurry of over 500 start ups are not only looking to cash in on the 50  billion dollar worldwide medical marijuana market, but replace the largely unscientific understanding of medical marijuana with  a complete pharmacological knowledge base. All these reforms combine to make Israel a leader in medical marijuana, but the latest reform focuses on adult recreational marijuana.

Israel’s latest step in marijuana normalization is decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana possession. Instead of jail time, people caught with more than 15 grams will be issued a fine of about $270. The fines will increase for each additional offense, up to 3, and only after the fourth citation would a citizen be subject to jail time. Growing and selling marijuana are still illegal under the new law. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet via broadcast, “On the one hand we are opening ourselves up to the future. On the other hand, we understand the dangers and will try to balance the two.”

About Lukas Barfield

Network Partners

Follow Us on Social Media

About CFN Media

CFN Media (CannabisFN) is the leading creative agency and media network dedicated to legal cannabis. We help marijuana businesses attract investors, customers (B2B, B2C), capital, and media visibility. Private and public marijuana companies and brands in the US and Canada rely on CFN Media to grow and succeed.

CFN launched in June of 2013 to initially serve the growing universe of publicly traded marijuana companies across North America. Today, CFN Media is also the digital media choice for the emerging brands in the space.

Learn How Your Company can Be Covered on CFN Media

Learn More About the CFN Media Sponsored Content Program is not a financial advisory or advisor, investment advisor or broker-dealer and do not undertake any activities that would require such registration. The information provided on (the ‘Site’) is either original financial news or paid advertisements drafted by our in house team or provided by an affiliate., a financial news media and marketing firm enters into media buys or service agreements with the companies which are the subject to the articles posted on the Site or other editorials for advertising such companies. We are not an independent news media provider and therefore do not represent or warrant that the information posted on the Site is accurate, unbiased or complete. received fees for producing and presenting high quality and sophisticated content on along with financial and corporate news.

Disclaimer: Except for the historical information presented herein, matters discussed in this article contain forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Emerging Growth LLC dba TDM Financial, which owns CannabisFN, is not registered with any financial or securities regulatory authority, and does not provide nor claims to provide investment advice or recommendations to readers of this release. Emerging Growth LLC dba TDM Financial, which owns CannabisFN, may from time to time have a position in the securities mentioned herein and will increase or decrease such positions without notice. For making specific investment decisions, readers should seek their own advice and that of their own professional advisers. Emerging Growth LLC dba TDM Financial, which owns CannabisFN, may be compensated for its Services in the form of cash-based and/or equity- based compensation in the companies it writes about, or a combination of the two. For full disclosure please visit:

Copyright © TDM Financial LLC · All Rights Reserved · Privacy Policy · Legal Disclaimer