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In Israel, medical marijuana research far from stuck in the weeds

One of the most revolutionary social movements in the past decade has been the growing acceptance of the consumption of marijuana in Western society, including the substance’s legalization in U.S. states such as Colorado and Washington. While marijuana is illegal for general use in Israel, the Jewish state is considered to be one of the world’s most forward-thinking countries when it comes to medical marijuana, with scientists and researchers flocking there to learn more about the benefits of the drug.

Most major Israeli political parties support medical marijuana. Israel also has a pro-legalization party, aptly named the Green Leaf Party, or “Aleh Yarok” in Hebrew. That party has failed to pass the necessary threshold for the Knesset, but according to polls, a vast majority of Israelis— around 75 percent in 2013—support medical marijuana.


Marijuana was first comprehensively studied in Israel in the 1960s by Professor Raphael Mechoulam, who is known as “the father of medical marijuana,” at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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