Marijuana use is fairly common in several countries around the globe. One of them is Israel. Until recently, the consumption of the herb had been considered a criminal offense. However, at the end of January, the Israeli government announced its intention to decriminalize cannabis for personal use.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, about nine percent of Israelis consume cannabis. On a nation-wide scale, the number is rather large. For a few years now, medical cannabis use has been allowed by the country's government. This year, it seems to be moving even further on the way to full legalization of the plant.
The nation's Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, claims that the government plans to adopt a system similar to that of some European countries and the U.S. states and decriminalize personal marijuana use. This means that if people are caught smoking marijuana, they will simply be fined and not arrested or prosecuted. However, those caught repeatedly will undergo criminal procedures.
The government has not approved this new policy yet. If it does, the new law will help the police reorganize its work and concentrate on dangerous drugs and dealers instead of personal users.
The recent data gathered by the Internal Security Ministry mentions a 30 percent decrease in enforcement against personal marijuana users during the last six years. These figures were presented to the Parliament at the end of 2016. The Justice Ministry received the following data—in 2015, 188 people were arrested for marijuana consumption, which is 56 percent lower than the corresponding data of 2010.
Mr. Erdan also mentions that if the new policy is approved, it will take effect within the following three months.
Alongside the U.S., Israel is one of the leading countries in medical marijuana research. Besides, about 10,000 people already have a license for cannabis use for medical purposes. It means that the country has great chances to see the new policy in action.