Legalization: Israel to decriminalize personal use of cannabis

The Israeli government has approved the legalization of cannabis and amnesties consumers

Background: The Israeli ministerial committee this morning approved two bills aimed at regulating the legal adult cannabis market (“legalization”) and completely eliminating charges against consumers. The laws are expected to be approved by the Knesset soon.

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation has decided to advance these two bills which would legalize cannabis , ensuring coalition support for them in the Knesset. The laws were submitted by Likud MP Sharren Haskel and Blue and White MP Ram Shefa. They were postponed last week, in part due to opposition from Community Development Minister Orly Levy-Abecassis.

Cannabis consumers will be able to possess up to 50 grams of cannabis for personal use and allow legal possession and purchase in regulated stores up to 15 grams for personal use.

This is an unprecedented approval by the Israeli government, for the first time in history, to regulate a legal cannabis market in Israel. As we remember, the two main parties, Likud and “White Blue,” presented legalization as an explicit election promise, and so far they support it.

Is cannabis use now allowed? Not yet. The two bills that were approved today will be merged into a single proposal that will be put to a vote in the Knesset, possibly as early as Wednesday or the next day. They will then go through all legislative steps which may take some time.

After Knesset approval on Wednesday, the proposal is expected to continue to be debated by one of the Knesset committees or a government committee attended by representatives from the police, law, welfare, transportation, and citizen representatives. and more, for careful drafting of the sections, for a period of up to three months, for the first reading.

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According to some estimates, the abolition procedure could be completed before the end of 2020. At the same time, discussions on the formulation of the legalization model will continue, regulating the legal market, probably for a year, according to some, until upon final approval.

However, the review of Cannabis Magazine Israel shows that Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn ("blue and white") continues to make it difficult to approve the proceedings. After rejecting the vote last week, he now demands that after approval in the preface, the motion be referred to a ministerial committee, it is not clear why.

According to the first bill, introduced by MP Sharan Mishpat (Likud), possession of cannabis up to 50 grams will be considered personal use and therefore an administrative offense and not criminal. The implication is that the penalty for this offense will be a maximum fine and not up to 3 years in prison as set today.

According to the second bill, legalized by MP Ram Shefa (blue and white), legal possession of cannabis and not just “non-criminal” will be possible, up to 15 grams for self-use. The purchase will be made as indicated in the designated stores and the products will be manufactured in authorized facilities.

Since the two proposals were approved together, the sections of the model are generally:

  • Up to 15 grams of cannabis will be authorized for private consumption, from the age of 21, with the exception of those who have a security post or other post determined by the Minister of Health. 
  • Dedicated cannabis stores ("distributors") will be authorized for sale, but it will no longer be permitted to smoke or sell food or drink in these signs.
  • The offense will be deleted for possession of up to 50 grams of cannabis and up to 15 cannabis seeds, for a total of 15 g
  • Cannabis containing up to 0,3% THC is considered industrial hemp, hemp.
  • The CBD component (Cannabidiol) will be exempt from the prescription drugs and will be considered a dietary supplement.
  • The cultivation of cannabis at home for private use would be prohibited.
  • Driving under the influence of cannabis will be prohibited. 
  • The restrictions in the law banning advertising and restricting the marketing of tobacco products could also apply to cannabis (brown packaging law, etc.).
  • An advocacy fund will be set up to operate in the educational and civic fields in order to present the dangers and prevent addictions.
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On the other hand, the police have already announced their intention to oppose the bill, so that discussions in committee dealing with the drafting of the new model law clauses are lively. In addition, the right-wing conservative parties, the ultra-Orthodox and the Arabs are also opposed.

Over the next few weeks, many voices are expected to be heard in the media against the legalization of cannabis, most likely in the Israeli newspaper and led by editors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who are investing tens of millions of dollars in their long struggle against legalization and medical cannabis.

MP Sharan Hensel a declared: “Today, for the first time in the history of the State of Israel, my legislative process officially begins, which will lead to the regulation of the cannabis market in Israel. After 5 years of fighting, the Legislative Affairs Committee approved my non-incrimination bill and it will vote in the Knesset plenary on Wednesday. The road has not been easy and full of political and media struggles, but in the end determination and perseverance have paid off. Proud to bring more than one million cannabis users and tens of thousands of patients. "

Tags : ConsumptiondecriminalizationdecriminalizationIsraelLaw

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