History of CBD and Cannabis In – Israel
Across the world, it seems as if there is no place which has not been touched by the wave of more tolerant attitudes towards CBD and cannabis in general. As evidence continues to build which shows potential benefits of CBD and cannabis, both are becoming more widely accepted – and even more so as more and more governments and businesses realize the potential revenue opportunities which exist thanks to cannabis.
There is perhaps no greater arguments for the cultural shift which has occurred as a result of business opportunities than Israel. While marijuana consumption remains illegal in the country, Israel is positioning itself as a leader in hemp and medical marijuana manufacturing and processing. This has resulted in a major marijuana-related business boom.
Legality of Cannabis and CBD in Israel
Given it’s business-friendly policies towards cannabis, it should come as no surprise that Israel has moved in a relatively liberal direction when it comes to its marijuana policies.
Marijuana is partially decriminalized in Israel. Citizens who are caught with small amounts of marijuana cannot be arrested until they are caught for a third time, and the previous two events will result in the implementation of a fine.
In terms of medical marijuana, Israel was one of the first countries in the world to legalize it, with medical marijuana first being prescribed to cancer patients in the early 1990s. The program has since grown and been more formalized, with over 10,000 patients in Israel being registered for the program in 2012.
However, full-scale marijuana use remains illegal.
Cannabis, business and Israel
Israel is a worldwide hub for marijuana and CBD research. It has a long history of being a leader in this area, with research on CBD first starting in 1963 at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Partially as a result of this long-term relationship the compound, Israel is one of only three countries in the entire world with government funded research into cannabis (estimated to be three million shekels annually). Furthermore, according to some research, no country in the world has a higher percentage of its overall revenue funding cannabis research than Israel.
This academic connection has turned into a business one. In 2017, Israeli legalized the exporting of medical marijuana to other countries, turning the country into a major production hub for medical-grade marijuana and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The marijuana industry now supports hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs.
It is important to also note that cannabis is wildly popular in the country. According to a 2017 survey 27% of Israeli’s aged 18-25 had consumed marijuana in the past year, the highest percentage of marijuana users in the entire world, with Iceland and the United States the closest (but still very far behind) at 18% and 16%. Even more astonishing is the jump, as only 8.8% of users said the same in a 2009 survey.
As such, further marijuana liberalization and legalization appears likely for Israel.