Israel Makes Moves Toward Decriminalizing Marijuana

Israel Makes Moves Toward Decriminalizing Marijuana

Flickr / Izhar Laufer / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

On Jan. 26, 2017, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced that he would support the decriminalization of marijuana in Israel and adopt recommendations made by a panel commissioned to study the issue.

According to Haaretz, under the panel’s recommendations, those caught using marijuana for the first time would be fined 1,000 shekels, equivalent to $265 USD.

For second offenses, the fine would double. Third time offenders would have their case closed pending police judgement, and those caught four times or more would be subject to criminal prosecution, but only with cases involving public use, not possession.

“Cannabis consumption falls in the area of individual freedoms where the state has no reason to intervene, since it does not cause damage,” said lawmaker Shelly Yacimovich, as reported by Haaretz. “What’s absurd is that alcohol, which is harmful and generates violence, is permitted.”

According to Saul Kaye, co-founder of iCan in Israel, “This change will significantly increase entrepreneurship and investment into cannabis in Israel as the old stigma of criminal cannabis disappears.”

The new policy still requires cabinet approval, which it’s expected to receive.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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