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Term: Cannabis in Israel

Cannabis in Israel (Wikipedia)

Cannabis in Israel is allowed for specified medical usage, and is illegal but partially decriminalized for recreational use, with prosecution for home use and possession of 15 grams or less generally not enforced by the authorities. Public and cross-party political support for the complete decriminalization of cannabis increased in the 2010s with increasing usage for both medical and recreational purposes, and the establishment of a political party primarily devoted to this cause; on July 19, 2018, the Knesset approved a bill for decriminalization, although the supporters of recreational cannabis use insisted that this did not represent complete decriminalization. The law came into effect on April 1, 2019. On June 25, 2020, further legislation designed to decriminalize possession of up to 50 grams of cannabis began its passage through the Knesset.

Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem isolated THC from cannabis in 1964 (along with Yechiel Gaoni) and later discovered anandamide.

Under current rules, citizens caught using cannabis in public for the first and second times cannot be arrested if they have no previous record of cannabis use, but may face fines of 1000 NIS (approximately $310) the first time, and 2000 NIS (approximately $620) the second time; the money collected from these fines is used to support education and rehabilitation programs.

Israeli scientists have conducted research into the properties and medical applications of cannabis since the 1960s, with notable discoveries first made by Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who isolated THC from cannabis in 1964 and later discovered anandamide, and cannabis has been legal to use for medical purposes since the 1990s.

A survey in 2017 found that 27% of Israelis between the ages of 18 and 65 had consumed cannabis in the last year, up from 8.8% in 2009, the highest rates of annual cannabis usage in the world, followed by Iceland and the US at 18% and 16% respectively.

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