Israel approves decriminalization policy on cannabis use

The Israeli government has approved the Israeli Public Security Minister's proposed decriminalization reforms on recreational cannabis users, which stresses education and drug treatment.
Caught users will be fined, not arrested Photo Credit: Abir Sultan, Flash90/Channel 2 News

The Israeli government approved today (Sunday) reforms to decriminalize cannabis, an initiative proposed by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. The decriminalization reform means that no criminal charges will be brought against first-time offenders. Instead, the police will issue fines.

The decision, which was approved during this week's cabinet meeting, was based on recommendations formulated by an Israeli Public Security Ministry team led by the ministry’s director-general. In order to implement the new drug policy, an inter-ministerial committee will propose amendments, regulations and necessary changes.

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"Government approval is an important step towards implementing this new policy," said Erdan. The minister stressed that at the core of this new reform is an emphasis on education and treatment for addiction and drug use, rather than on criminal enforcement, which was the case until now.

Gilad Erdan Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel, Flash90/Channel 2 News

A month ago, Erdan declared his official position in favor of a policy decriminalizing cannabis use after he received the findings of a report written by a team that reviewed the existing policy. According to the recommendations, offenders will be penalized with administrative fines, rather than criminal charges, up until their fourth offense. If the person is caught for the fourth time, he will be criminally charged.   



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