“In Israel’s divisive political climate, a common cause between right and left has emerged: cannabis.
Israel’s Cabinet decriminalized the recreational use of cannabis, or marijuana, at its weekly meeting on Sunday in a move hailed by politicians from across the spectrum.
Under the new policy, first-time offenders caught using marijuana in public will be subject to a fine of approximately $250, but will not face criminal charges. The money will be used for drug rehabilitation and education. A second offense will be subject to a fine of approximately $500, while a third offense may require rehabilitation, education and a suspended driver’s license. A fourth offense will be subject to prosecution and a possible prison term.
‘Whether one supports use of cannabis or is opposed, it is wrong to judge cannabis users per criminal law and its derivatives,’ right-wing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said. ‘The State of Israel cannot turn a blind eye in light of changes worldwide regarding cannabis consumption and effect.’
Israel’s decision to decriminalize cannabis comes as global attitudes about the drug are rapidly shifting. More than 20 countries are exploring changes to their marijuana laws — in the United States, eight states and the District of Columbia now allow for recreational sales and medical prescriptions.
Worldwide, many nations have already decriminalized cannabis in an attempt to combat societal problems associated with its use — including the Netherlands, Mexico, Czech Republic, Costa Rica and Portugal.
‘This is an important step, but it’s not the end of the road,’ said Tamar Zandberg, from the left-wing Meretz Party. Zandberg also serves as chairwoman of the Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. ‘It’s a message that millions of Israelis who consume cannabis are not criminals’.”
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See full article – Israel makes it official: Cannabis is not a crime