Legislative process to bring full legalization into effect within a week
Legalization in Israel. The Israeli government has announced that it will approve the full legalization of cannabis, the abolition of the criminalization of consumers and the regulation of a legal market for adults. The law will be approved by the government within a short period of time and will come into force within 9 months.
According to Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn: The inter-ministerial team presented its findings and provides a report to advance legislation with the aim of regulating the field.
This is an important event and complex issue in many ways, which is why we have heard from outside experts, members of the Knesset and the general public. Since we want to learn from international experience, the team consulted foreign sources who are already familiar with the subject, such as Canada, on the conclusions of legalization. A very comprehensive and important report has been produced. Now is the time, in light of attempts around the world and the current consumption pattern in Israel, to act responsibly.
How will the consumption of cannabis in Israel and its non-incrimination be implemented?
An approach that preserves the balance between health in Israeli society and a person's right to consume cannabis and to balance liberalism, health and the social aspect. The age at which cannabis can be legally consumed is 21 years old. The state of Israel will create barriers and means which will allow and ensure as far as possible that under this age there will be no consumption. The principle of non-incrimination will nevertheless apply for all ages. There will be licensed stores for home use, commerce and growth will be by licensed entities, education and information budgeting, drug addiction treatment and suppression and punishment of offenders and targeted distributors, sellers and producers. This is a very important reform and Israel is not ignoring the reality and is moving forward in a very responsible and holistic way. All the representatives of the ministries were members of the inter-ministerial team, which was created following the declarations of Likud and bleu-blanc (current main parties), to advance the issue of legalization.
The intention is to summarize the memorandum of law in a week
The law will enter into force within 9 months from the time the proposal is approved by the government. At the start of next month, he could already be in the assembly of Israel, for new legislative procedures. The intention is that within 9 months the different ministries will complete the important infrastructure works related to legalization. The legislation will be adopted in the near future, after which there will be applied work. During this period, departments will work to resolve the issues. The team holds 21 meetings with Israeli and foreign officials, surrounded by experts from various fields, science, research, mental health, addictions, etc. Also listening mainly to Canada, who recently celebrated two years of reform, and also from Colorado due to its relatively longer experience.
The reasons for the change in the current situation
There is widespread consumption by the Israeli public which occupies a preponderant place in the Middle East. Disagreement coexists but the majority support the promotion of legalization and believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. On the other hand, there is also a panel of countries with non-discrimination policies which do not necessarily respond to the concerns of use and decentralization of the black market. Israel believes that to reach a solution in the area of public health and information, it needs sufficient time to work out the details and implement them. Lack of information has caused irresponsible consumption, so to arrive at a situation where the benefit will outweigh the damage, sufficient preparation time must be allowed.
The amount of possession for personal use and home cultivation
Regarding possession, there is a controversy about it: those who think we should stay at 15 grams, and those who want to reduce it. When it comes to growing cannabis at home, Israel believes that at this point it wouldn't be fair to do so without making a measured start. Fear is spreading in the black market and a lack of control over the nature of the material. At a more advanced stage of application, it will be possible to examine the first stage of application and see if a home cultivation can be authorized and in what form. Trafficking is one of the most troubling issues in cannabis use, and there will be a follow-up discussion on this debate as well.
What will legalization look like in Israel?
- The sale will be aimed at Israelis and tourists aged 21 and over
- In specialized stores on presentation of an identity card
- The state will ensure that the prices are reasonable so as not to push towards the black market
- Ban on smoking cannabis in public
- Smoking cannabis will not be considered an obstacle in a security screening
- The growth of the house will be examined later
- Up to 15 grams of cannabis for private use, from the age of 21, will be allowed, except for security reasons or other officials determined by the Minister of Health.
- Dedicated cannabis stores (“dispensaries”) will be allowed for sale, but no longer smoking in stores and no food or drink in stores.
- The indictment will be abolished for possession of up to 50 grams of cannabis and up to 15 cannabis seeds, i.e. up to 15 g is completely legal but between 15 and 50 g it becomes a sanctioned administrative offense by a fine.
- Cannabis containing up to 0,3% THC will be considered industrial cannabis, “hemp”.
- The CBD component (cannabidiol) will be excluded from the prescription for drugs and will be considered a food supplement.
- The cultivation of cannabis at home for private use will be prohibited.
- Driving under the influence of cannabis will be prohibited.
- The restrictions in the Law on the Ban on Advertising and the Restriction on the Marketing of Tobacco Products may also apply to cannabis (Brown Packaging Law, etc.).
- An information fund will be set up which will operate within the framework of education and in the civic arena in order to present the dangers and prevent addictions.
Sources within government believe that if the government does not disperse in next month's election, as many expect, it will be possible to complete the legislation within a short period of time. If it dissolves, the government will endeavor to approve the bill at least at first reading to apply a "continuity law" for the next government and continue from there. Otherwise, the proposal crashes and the process resets.