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Israel Seeking to Expand Medical Marijuana Industry

The NY Times reports: JERUSALEM — Israeli scientists began their pioneering research to isolate the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana with a 10-pound stash seized by the Tel Aviv police. That effort, in the 1960s, helped propel Israel to the vanguard of research into the plant’s medicinal properties and lay the foundations for a medical marijuana industry.

Now the nation’s burgeoning pot business, backed by an unlikely coalition of farmers, lawyers, scientists, entrepreneurs and the country’s ultra-Orthodox health minister, is going mainstream — and eyeing markets abroad.

Marijuana, or cannabis, is still classified as a dangerous drug in Israel and remains illegal for recreational purposes. But the government is also at the forefront of efforts to develop and expand the fast-growing medical marijuana industry and make Israel a major center for it.

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