New medical cannabis rules in Israel will reduce wait times for patients to receive authorization to use and possess medical cannabis and patients will now be allowed to consume cannabis as an oil or vapor in public, according to a report from Jerusalem Online. The new rules are effective immediately as Israeli Health Minister Ya’akov Litzman considers additional reforms to expand the program.
Israel has been at the forefront of national cannabis policies, having decriminalized use in March. Under the decriminalization plan, non-medical users caught smoking cannabis in public are subject to a $271 fine for the first offense, and the fine is doubled on the second. A third offense leads to probation, but the record would be quickly expunged. Only on the fourth offense are criminal charges levied.
MK Tamar Zandbergm chair of the Knesset Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse said the policy “sends a message that a million of Israelis who consume marijuana aren’t criminals.”
The Agriculture and Health Ministries announced in January a plan to provide about $2.1 million in funding for 13 medical cannabis studies that will range from biochemical and medical research to improving crop yields.
Last month, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem launched the Multidisciplinary Center of Cannabinoid Research, which will coordinate and conduct research on cannabis’ biological effects in an effort to determine potential commercial applications.