Palestinians inspect a crater following an Israeli air strike that injured two people, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on January 31, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB)
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Israel's newly fortified Egyptian border has delivered a severe blow to drug smugglers, forcing its hashish and marijuana smokers to deal with a new kind of high – soaring prices.Though a criminal offence, marijuana and hashish consumption is fairly common in mainstream Israel. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, almost 9 percent of Israelis use cannabis. Briefing an Israeli parliamentary committee last week, police said the drug "dry spell" caused by the fence on the Egyptian border might not last, with the eastern Jordanian frontier possibly turning into an alternative drug route.Medicinal marijuana, which is allowed in Israel under certain Health Ministry regulations, has also been seeping into the illegal drug market, according to users and the police.Hydro marijuana and medicinal marijuana both sell for the same street rate – about 1,000 shekels for 10 grams.
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