Israel has been a leader in medical marijuana research for years, and now, thanks to a new set of directives released by the country’s Health Ministry, the state is setting a new standard of accommodation by allowing medical patients to legally consume cannabis in public.
According to Haaretz, the new directives went into effect immediately and now permit the use of cannabis oils and vaporizers in public spaces.
Smoking marijuana in public will remain illegal, but a rule change made in March means that even lighting up in downtown Tel Aviv will only result in a citation and a fine.
Before the most recent directives, medical marijuana patients had their medicine directly tied to their place of residence, and even possessing pot outside of the address on a patient’s medical cannabis license was a punishable offense. It also prevented patients from taking cannabis on vacation and made changing residences difficult. Now, Israel’s cannabis regulators are happy to do away with the antiquated system.
“We felt that a lot of bureaucracy was created over nothing,” Yuval Landschaft, the head of the Israeli Health Ministry’s cannabis unit told Haaretz.
The new regulations still ban vaping weed and using cannabis oils at schools, airports and a few other select locations, but Israel’s 30,000 medical marijuana patients will now be able to add cannabis oil to their food at restaurants or vape flowers while walking down the street.
While America’s version of legalization has generally continued to treat cannabis like a narcotic substance, Israel is taking an approach that puts patients first, and the country’s officials aren’t shy about it.
“[The new rules] are part of the medicalization of medical cannabis as much as possible.” Landschaft said. “We see great value in helping make things easier for patients who need it.”