Israeli lawmakers approve bill to export medicinal cannabis

Israeli lawmakers approved a draft bill on Sunday to legalize export of cannabis for certain approved medical use, a spokesperson for Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced.

As the draft bill has been adopted by the ministerial committee, which meets outside the full cabinet of the government; the measure will now go ahead as a government bill. However, no date has thus far been set for its first reading.

A scheduled debate on decriminalizing the controversial drug’s use in favor of fines and treatment of certain diseases has been postponed until next Sunday.

The use of cannabis or marijuana for recreational purposes is currently illegal in Israel, a Jewish state, for the last ten years. However, the drug’s therapeutic use hasn’t only been permitted but also encouraged.

According to official stats, in 2015, doctors prescribed cannabis to as many as 25,000 patients suffering from diseases like cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress and degenerative diseases.

In the U.S., more than two dozen states have legalized cannabis for medical use. Some states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Nevada, have also approved the drug for recreational use.