The Knesset plenum approved in a preliminary reading two bills dealing with the decriminalization of the personal use of cannabis and regulating the market for self-consumption.

The first bill, submitted by MK Sharren Haskel, would decriminalize the possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana while fully legalizing the possession and personal consumption of up to 15 grams by individuals above the age of 21.

A separate bill sponsored by MK Ram Shefa (Blue and White) calls to regulate the cannabis market for self-consumption and fully legalize the personal consumption of cannabis by individuals above the age of 21, in accordance with the terms specified in the bill. The legislation also calls to issue various regulations regarding driving under the influence of cannabis, selling cannabis at designated selling points, advertising, taxation and more.

MK Shefa’s proposal aims to permit shops that would sell recreational cannabis – subject to Health Ministry licensing and regulations.

Prior to the vote, MK Haskel said, “Regulating the issue of cannabis for self-consumption is one of the symbols of my generation of a person’s freedom to make choices about his body on his own. This is an expression of a person’s right to privacy… and his right to maintain his lifestyle of choice, as long as he doesn’t harm anyone else.”

MK Shefa said that as an educator and head of the Knesset’s Education Committee, he “understands what is happening to our youth today.” The fact that cannabis is illegal “sometimes makes teenagers want to consume it more, and connect through various dubious apps with criminals who offer them other things to consume; things we do not want them to consume,” he said.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Yemina), who opposes the legislation, said “you are going to conduct here a super-dangerous social experiment that, if, G-d forbid, will fail, it will ruin the next generations of the State of Israel.”

MK Haskel’s bill passed its preliminary reading by a vote of 61 to 11. MK Shefa’s bill passed by a vote of 53 to 12, with abstention. Both bills will be transferred to the House Committee for further deliberation.

It takes three rounds of voting for the bill to be passed.