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The Legal Status of Cannabis In Israel

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

On my second night of the first Israel trip I ever led (as a staff member, not as an Israel tour guide), back in the mid-1990s, 3 of my teenage students were caught by undercover Israeli

police buying marijuana on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem (despite our strict warnings to them). I spent my second night as a professional tour leader watching three of my students get deported.

On one of my birthright trips about a decade ago, a group of mine managed to get kicked out of the Israeli parliament building (the Knesset) when one student pushed aside a member of Knesset, took his microphone and proceeded to lecture him about the need to legalize marijuana. Another student objected to this behavior (as well as a litany of other things by the participant in question) and proceeded to come up and punch him in the face. Ahh... good times. A true high moment in my guiding career...

And yet, we've come a long way since then.

Israel is now the world's leader in medical marijuana. But where exactly does it stand when it comes to legalization and decriminalization? What does the new Israeli government have planned in this regard?

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