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IL: MMJ reforms pass first reading

Major cannabis reforms in Israel look imminent as all parties across the ruling coalition government supported a bill that would reform the country’s medical cannabis laws in its first reading. The bill is partially a result of demand surpassing what the current regulatory ecosystem can provide for Israeli patients. A lot of Israeli patients have been frustrated with exports picking up while their jars sit empty due to licensing hurdles. The main goal of the legislation was to increase cultivation, distribution, and ease of access. 

People had their fears going into the first reading. A few months back, legalization hopes were scrapped when the Ra’am party opposed the move, a tough pill to swallow for Muslim cannabis activists working on the issue. This led to members of the opposition having confidence in similar results until Ra’am came out in support of medical cannabis while reaffirming its opposition to wider legalization in the process. 

Another big change from years past is that during the transition, a health minister that supports the medical cannabis reform came into power. New Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz went a step further a few months ago when he became the first health minister to come out in favor of all-out legalization.

Following the first reading of the current medical reform effort, Horowitz said the issue had been stalled by bureaucracy over the years. He is excited for the more than 100,000 Israeli patients to get their cannabis. According to the Times of Israel, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu only skipped the vote because he did not realize the New Hope party was able to get the backing of Ra’am. 


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