In a historic move for the nation of Israel and the ongoing global reform of cannabis, the country has officially implemented its decriminalized marijuana legislation. The new laws took hold 86 days after the Israeli government voted to end pot possession arrests.
Full-on legalization is not being considered for the moment, however, the choice to remove most criminal punishment from the law books is now a reality.
Police have informed citizens to refrain from using cannabis in public spaces as pot is still technically illegal. Those caught with less than 15 grams of marijuana on their first offense will be fined the equivalent of $280.00 USD.
If caught with weed for the second time, the fine would grow to approximately $561.00 USD; third-time offenders will be investigated for drug violations. A fourth infraction can lead to immediate indictment with a fine and up to one year in jail.
On March 5th, when the government voted yes to cannabis decriminalization, Minister Gilad Erdan stated that “the government’s approval is an important step on the way to implementing the new policy, which will emphasize public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement.”
Regardless of the penalties involved, this move is a huge leap for a Middle Eastern country. It serves as an example of an open-minded drug policy in that region, where someone in Dubai for example, can get 10 years in prison for simply having seeds on them while in transit.
The new decriminalization strategy fits perfectly alongside the fact that Israel is also a world-leader in medical cannabis research.
Israeli Universities offer a broadening selection of cannabis-based research facilities. The country conducts regular studies on cannabis treatment for many conditions and funds cannabis tech companies as well.