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The recreational use of cannabis is illegal in the Jewish state, but for the past 10 years its therapeutic use has not only been permitted but also encouraged. Last year, doctors prescribed the herb to about 25,000 patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress and degenerative diseases. The purpose is not to cure them but to alleviate their symptoms. Forbidden to export its cannabis plants, Israel is concentrating instead on marketing its agronomic, medical and technological expertise in the hope of becoming a world hub in the field.
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An Israeli agricultural engineer inspects marijuana plants at the BOL (Breath Of Life) Pharma greenhouse in the country's second-largest medical cannabis plantation, near Kfar Pines in northern Israel, on March 9, 2016. The recreational use of cannabis is illegal in the Jewish state, but for the past 10 years its therapeutic use has not only been permitted but also encouraged. Last year, doctors prescribed the herb to about 25,000 patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress and degenerative diseases. The purpose is not to cure them but to alleviate their symptoms. Forbidden to export its cannabis plants, Israel is concentrating instead on marketing its agronomic, medical and technological expertise in the hope of becoming a world hub in the field. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Group wanting relaxed classification of marijuana holds protest

Rally includes use of drug

(CNN) —  

An activist group held a “smoke-in” in front of the White House on Saturday in an effort to urge President Barack Obama to reschedule marijuana’s current classification.

DCMJ, a community group fighting for decriminalization and the rescheduling of marijuana, headed the protest in which about 200 people participated and many smoked or vaped marijuana in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at 4:20 p.m., a number sequence associated with use of the drug.

Protesters built a 51-foot inflatable marijuana joint replica that read, “Obama, reschedule cannabis now.”

The group, in a statement, called Obama a “hypocrite” after he admitted to smoking pot as a teen.

Marijuana is currently designated a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Schedule I drugs are defined as “the most dangerous drugs” with no currently accepted medical use and having a high potential for abuse. The group wants it moved to a lower classification.

The protest was largely peaceful and resulted in at least two citations for public consumption, with a possible fine of $25.

Lauren Dove, one of the those who received a citation, said it was “more than fair,” adding she was more out in the open then the other protesters and “not being discreet.”

“The only way that we can change this is we gotta go out and make it a norm. We gotta smoke in public,” Dove told CNN.

In 2015, Mayor Muriel Bowser implemented a measure approved by voters allowing residents over 21 to possess up to two ounces of pot – but it may not be consumed in public.