In fact, just a couple months ago, marijuana law reform activists even took to the streets to protest and demand marijuana legalization, but adult-use/recreational cannabis is still not legal as of yet.
However, now, after approval by the Israeli government in March, Israel’s new cannabis decriminalization policy, has officially came into effect. This will begin a new legal approach towards the recreational use of marijuana in the Jewish state.
The new government policy shifts the responsibility of enforcing marijuana laws from police to civil authorities. Yet recreational cannabis use is not fully legalized in Israel, and the Israel Police clarified that “even under the new enforcement policy, cannabis use will stay illegal in the public sector,” reported Yedioth Ahronoth.
Possessing more than 15 grams of cannabis remains illegal in Israel. Further, individuals caught carrying less than 15 grams may still be apprehended depending on whether or not the marijuana is determined to be for personal consumption or distribution, based upon the way it is packaged. If police determine the cannabis is for personal use, the individual’s criminal past will be checked; if no drug-related offenses are found, the individual will be fined NIS 1,000 ($280).
The country of Israel is a world leader in medical cannabis research, despite its small pool of medical patients. About 23,000 people have medical marijuana permits from the Israeli Health Ministry, and there’s only nine licensed suppliers to service the country. Estimates have Israel’s marijuana market topping at $15 million to $20 million.
Decriminalization is key for beginning the process of upholding civil liberties and social justice in the midst of the war on drugs. We have seen over and over again in different states here in the U.S. and it only makes sense for a state, like Israel, where there is already so much medical marijuana research being done.