Demonstrating further that legalization is a global movement and that our political, economic and cultural success stories reverberate around the world, Israel is set to decriminalize marijuana use and study regulations that could lead to cannabis commerce in the near future. Public Security Ministry Gilad Erdan told Haartz that legalization efforts in other locales led to Israel to form a governmental panel to reexamine its marijuana policies.
The panel recommended switching the focus on marijuana usage from the criminal level to the educational one, and expanding responses to marijuana use beyond opening criminal files and prosecuting users.
According to the new policy, first-time offenders that are caught using marijuana in a public place will incur a fine of 1,000 shekels ($271) but the offender will not face criminal charges. The fine will be doubled on the second offense. The third offense will lead to probation, with the record of the offense only being expunged after a brief period. Only on the fourth offense will criminal charges be pressed.
The money from the fines will go to financing antidrug education and treatment.
It is great to see progress around the globe and to hear first hand from a prominent government official, a part of a conservative Benjamin Netanyahu Administration nonetheless, that our success has bred more success. While there won’t be any Amsterdam-style cannabis coffeeshops immediately, ABC reports that Israel will study regulations that could indeed lead to legal cannabis commerce in the Holy Land. I’ve always wanted to go to Israel and decriminalized cannabis will push the country up on my travel agenda. If cannabis commerce gets legalized, then I’ll be there even sooner.