Israel Decriminalizes Cannabis Use

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Israel’s cabinet has approved the decriminalization of cannabis and an inter-ministerial team will next propose amendments and regulations required to carry out the new policy, according to Haaretz. Under the plan, first-time offenders caught using cannabis in public will be fined $271, which will be doubled on the second offense. A third offense will lead to probation, but the record would be quickly expunged; criminal charges would be pressed on the fourth offense.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that the reforms “will emphasize public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement,” noting that Israel’s cannabis policies were reviewed due to worldwide legalization trends. The money from the fines will be used for anti-drug treatment and education. Minors caught using cannabis would only be arrested if they refused to enter a drug treatment program, Erdan said in the report.

“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,” MK Tamar Zandberg, chairwoman of the Knesset Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse said. “We will carry on following the details in the committee and ensure that the change is implemented.”

A special committee on the measure is expected to convene today.

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