Earlier this month,thousands of Israeli marijuana activists took to the street to demand legalization chanting,“the people demand legal cannabis.”
The support for legalization is mirrored within parts of the Israeli government. The homeland to the ‘Father’ of cannabis science, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Israel may be ready to turn a new leaf.
An official review panel with the ear of the Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, are recommending a shift from criminal prosecution to fines and educational campaigns.
The Israeli news outlet, Haaretz, reports that Minister Erdan said he supports the decriminalization of Israeli marijuana for private, recreational use.
The pro-pot protest took place at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, and was organized by pro-legalization groups and Israel’s national student union, according to reports. “Prominent Israeli musicians, including hip-hop group Hadag Nahash and Mediterranean singer Shimi Tavori, performed at the event and told the crowd about their encounters with police over suspected cannabis use,” writes Haaretz.
However, it’s also been reported that the move to replace criminal charges with fines may be a bit premature.
Israeli Police are worried that legalization will infringe on their access to illegal drug dealers – a source of information to bust bigger, more violent offenders of the law.
A senior officer told Haaretz the police can’t stop walking the beat versus pot because “dealers provide us with useful information on other crimes such as car theft and burglaries. They know who’s out there needing some money. It’s a resource we’ll find hard to give up.”
Clause 6 says the growing, producing, extracting or preparing of a dangerous substance requires a license.
Police can use the clause in Israel’s antidrug law against both small and commercial grows. Problem is, the language of the clause doesn’t make any distinction when it comes to the size of the cultivation.
The lack of distinction between small and commercial growers, could theoretically get growers of any amount of cannabis up to 20 years in prison.