On March 5, Israel gave marijuana its blessing by taking major steps toward legalization.
Let's be honest: Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, currently leads the country in a coalition built by alt-right and religious groups. And while Israelis boast about its research triumphs and political freedom -- particularly in comparison to its radical neighbors -- nobody thought its current government would join the pot-loving club.
But Israel has always shown itself to be the-little-country-that-could. Its leadership saw opportunity, despite their hesitations, and is now diving head-first into legalizing cannabis.
In February, thousands of Israelis came together in Tel Aviv to rally in support of full legalization of weed, as reported by The Times of Israel. The event included members of Israel's parliament from both sides of the political spectrum in support of this progress.
By early March, Israel's government heard them out and took a step in the direction of appeasing them.
According to CNN, when the cabinet approved this new law, it mandated that, once approved by the Parliament, those who are caught with marijuana will only be faced with a fine for the first two offenses -- and the money would go directly to drug rehabilitation and education. The third offense could result in required rehabilitation and education, as well as a suspension of driver's license. Only the fourth offense could result in persecution and potential imprisonment.
Unlike the ghastly restrictions imposed on America's cannabis-curious researchers, as explained by the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Israel had created an atmosphere of support, leading to this huge step forward in government.
According to an article published in the Jewish Journal, Israel has given licenses to eight farms growing marijuana. These farms receive strict oversight but, ultimately, they also get the support any other farm would receive.
These restrictions may make it difficult to give their products to patients, but there are few obstacles to giving their product to research. This has resulted in Israel becoming a world leader in cannabis research.
With all of the positive results in research, it should be matter-of-fact that Israelis -- religious, secular, right and left -- have interfused and are fighting the fight to make legal a drug that has been proven positive beyond the bounds any reasonable doubt.