Israel May Soon Legalize Recreational Cannabis


A few months ago, I wrote a post entitled, “Israel: Cannabis Powerhouse“. That post noted how Israel has been at the forefront of cannabis for decades. Namely, it was one of the pioneers of cannabis research, an early adopter of medical cannabis, and one of the few countries that has embraced of medical cannabis imports and exports (for example, Israel recently exported medical cannabis to Australia). Nevertheless, Israel still lags behind countries like Canada that have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. But that’s changing.

As I noted in the above post back in the summer, there had been a preliminary vote in Israel’s Knesset (i.e., its parliament) to push towards a national recreational cannabis market. At the time, this was a huge step toward a legal recreational market. But it ultimately didn’t advance the ball that much until more recently.

In November 2020, Israel announced that it was moving forward with a plan to legalize recreational cannabis nationally. The country is aiming to implement recreational legalization within nine months, and even if there are delays, that means mid-to-late 2021. There’s still a ways to go and more hearings will be held this month.

Israel is reportedly modeling its recreational cannabis law on Canada’s federal laws and will allow sales to persons over 21 years of age, but unlike Canada and many U.S. states, it will not allow home grows (for now, at least). The legislation would also reportedly reform existing medical cannabis laws and decriminalize possession of larger amounts of cannabis.

A legal recreational market in Israel will be extremely significant. Only a very small handful of other countries have legalized cannabis at the federal level, and other countries are actively resisting recreational legalization, like Germany. Considering the fact that Israel has already embraced imports and exports of medical cannabis, this means it will be lightyears ahead of countries like the United States, which is still struggling to get to federal legalization.

Israel’s recreational cannabis laws have a ways to go, so stay tuned to the Canna Law Blog for more updates.