Israel lawmakers have given approval to a bill that decriminalizes marijuana.
Under the new law, approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet, those caught possessing or using marijuana will not be arrested or charged with a crime unless they re-offend four times. Smoking in public would remain illegal, punishable by a $270 fine for a first offense; growing or selling marijuana would also remain illegal.
“The government’s approval is an important step on the way to implement the new policy, which will emphasize public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan following the vote.
MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), chairperson of the Knesset Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, said that “this is an important step, but not the end of the road. It sends a message that a million of Israelis who consume marijuana aren’t criminals. We will carry on following the details in the committee and ensure that the change is implemented.”
Israel, a Middle Eastern country on the Mediterranean Sea, has a population of just over 8 million.
About Anthony Martinelli
Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.