The Israeli government is considering regulations to decriminalize personal cannabis possession and expunge the records of those convicted of possessing personal-use amounts of cannabis. If approved, cannabis possession would not be a criminal offense, rather an administrative offense, like a traffic violation, according to a Jewish News Syndicate report.
Israel’s Minister of Justice Gideon Sa’ar announced the plan last month, saying the cannabis criminalization violates citizens’ “personal rights and undermines trust between citizens and law enforcement.”
Under the decriminalization proposal, a first offense would be met with a 1,000-shekel fine (about $310), while a second offense is 2,000 shekels ($620) – a fourth offense would be considered a criminal one. Fines for Israeli Defense Forces soldiers, police, and minors — who are excluded from the new regulation — would be capped at 1,000 shekels, the report says.
The expungement rules, announced on Sunday by Sa’ar and President Isaac Herzog, would allow those with low-level possession convictions to submit a request to have their records cleared, while those with pending criminal proceedings would be able to contact the police and request to have the charges dropped.
“As a complementary step, and out of a desire to erase the label of criminality and the associated stain from anyone who has previously committed the offense of personal possession or use of cannabis, the President and the Justice Minister are issuing a joint call. It must be emphasized that every request will be considered on its merits, according to its particular circumstances, on an individual basis, considering the abovementioned changes of policy and law.” – Sa’ar and Herzog in a joint statement
Last month, Israel announced that it would no longer include CBD in its Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, allowing for it to be used and imported into Israel, the Jerusalem Post reports. That decision came following months-long research by a Health Ministry committee.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said the decision is the first step in regulating cannabis in Israel, saying that there is a “broad consensus” that CBD should not be defined as a dangerous drug.
“For several years now, Israel has been lagging behind advanced countries in the world in this matter, and it continues to incriminate and prevent the use of components that are not dangerous to public health,” he said in the report. “We will now close that gap.”
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