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Israel, between constitutional flaw and pragmatism

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A fallible bill on the decriminalization of recreational cannabis has passed first reading in the Knesset, as medical cannabis prevails among pharmacists.

A bill on the decriminalization of consumption in public and are liable to various fines. On the first offense, 1000 shekels (230 euros) and 2000 shekels (460 euros) for the second offense. Subsequently, only on the fourth offense, individuals may be subject to criminal prosecution. At the same time, courses are being set up for pharmacists around medical cannabis.

Decriminalization on the move?

Minister of Public Safety and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan lead this bill. He said that Israel wants to "reduce the harm of drugs but avoid stigmatization of citizens as much as possible".

cannabis Israel, cannabis in pharmacies, cannabis legalization, decriminalization
Gilad Erdan and the “decriminalization” of cannabis

MP Tamar Zandberg (Meretz, left-wing party) said that the passage of the bill marks "another important step on the road to our victory". She added that the law is "far from perfect, but it is a step in the door on the road to a policy of full legalization".

 


Constitutional loopholes in this decriminalization

However, there are five constitutional flaws in the bill. Excluding some of these flaws could end up in the bill in France.

There are fundamental constitutional flaws in the bill, including those that the attorney general noted this week and that the minister chose to ignore.

Lawyer Dekel Ozer of “Ale Yarok” (Green Leaf, the Israeli pro-cannabis party) is an expert in constitutional law, and explains what it is.

cannabis Israel, cannabis in pharmacies, cannabis legalization, decriminalization
The logo of the pro-cannabis party Ale Yarok

According to the current bill presented by Minister Gilad Erdan, and if the important articles are not amended, the harassment of cannabis users in Israel is expected to increase by tens of millions of shekels.

In the State of Israel, there is no "constitution", but there are basic laws that serve as a constitution. In case of contradiction, the fundamental laws prevail over the ordinary laws. There are also fundamental principles of equality before the law, the right to due process and justice, and the right of access to courts - which are supreme principles and it is doubtful whether they can be overruled even in the framework of fundamental laws.

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One can not condemn the act of damaging oneself

Use and possession of cannabis will continue to be a serious offense punishable by up to three years in prison. This fact, in itself, is a constitutional flaw. Take the example of a person who drinks bleach to kill himself. Suicide is not a criminal offense. So if self-harm in an attempted death is not an offense - how would an act of "self-harm" much less dangerous even than alcohol constitute a criminal offense?

An absence of amnesty

Past criminal records regarding self-consumption of cannabis will not be canceled. As a result, those found guilty of possession of cannabis and who bear criminal records for their own use will continue to bear the mark.

This is a clear discrimination between citizens who were caught in the past and citizens who will be caught in the future, and therefore also constitutes a constitutional flaw.

An exceptional criminal procedure for cannabis

The proposal allows for the continuation of harassment, searches and entry into homes without legal order, solely on the basis of suspected personal use. A person's self-ownership does not end with his body. There is a certain degree of independence and ownership of a person who grants immunity from harassment by the government to their clothing, tools, vehicles and home.

Law and criminal procedure state that a search and access to homes is only done in the event of a crime. Therefore, the law does not allow searching in homes except for crimes, which is not the case with the bill.

The creation of two classes of citizens between those condemned and those whose record is virgin

The conditions that must be met in order to admit the offense and to only have a fine instead of being considered a criminal violate equality before the law. The proposal states that anyone who does not meet the same strict conditions cannot be accessed under the conditions of the new law.

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In principle, conditions cannot affect equality before the law. The conditions set will ensure that those who already have a record because of cannabis will become second-class citizens. This is in fact a double penalty for a crime of which they are already guilty.

This leads to a law that violates the prohibition of double punishment and the right to equality before the law.

Fines on decriminalization disproportionate

The fines provided for in the bill consist of disproportionate amounts. Thus the law provides for fines of 1.000 shekels and 2000 shekels for personal use. These amounts are 3 times higher than those given during a trial.

Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit himself ruled that these amounts were very heavy fines. This eliminates the discretionary power of judges. This is a violation of the right to fair access to justice.

The Israeli case, in relation to the possible reform planned in France is interesting. In both cases, the fine seems to be the chosen option. The example of the Hebrew state could shed light on identical issues in French law.


Medical cannabis training for Israeli pharmacists

Next month, the first cycle of a new medical cannabis course will be open only to pharmacists. This is taking place as part of the preparations for the transition to the provision of medical cannabis in pharmacies. The training lasts around 40 hours and costs around 2 shekels (000 euros).

cannabis Israel, cannabis in pharmacies, cannabis legalization, decriminalization

After the training of 80 doctors last year, the reform has stalled due to the export freeze. Nevertheless, dozens of pharmacists will be trained whose job will be to prepare cannabis in pharmacies.

As part of a new course, organized by the Union of Pharmacists and managed academically by Professor Gil Bar-Sela, pharmacists will obtain an official license for the distribution of medical cannabis in pharmacies. About a hundred pharmacies have registered to take his classes.

At Technion, the first class of the new course opens on April 30. The Hebrew University will transfer the second class (to Tel Aviv), probably several weeks later. Early registration for the next Technion course closes between March 18 and 20.

 

Tags : decriminalizationIsraelLawMedicinePharmacy
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