Following a trend from around the world, Israel has also recently proposed a decriminalization law for marijuana consumption. However, the legalization advocates consider the law to be a mere hoax. They believe that the soon-to-be law is quite shallow and still needs great amendment.
The decriminalization plan proposed by the Israeli government granted approval for the use of cannabis. It created a wave of concern around the country as the cannabists, as well as the legalization advocates, thought of the plan as a half-hearted measure.
Oren Lebovich—chairman of the Green Leaf party—even went on to state that this plan is “far from decriminalization”. The reason being, that this plan, as it stands, still poses threats to those using cannabis for recreational purposes. The plan can still get such users a fair bit of jail-time.
Another aspect of the plan that those on side of Lebovich are concerned about is the authority of search. Police, if they suspect the use of joint at a certain residential place, can barge in and conduct a detailed search. On top of all that, the plan also doesn’t consider expunging the records of those who fell victim to the crime once. This means that those who committed a felony as per the country’s law, but are safe after the new plan’s enactment, will still serve their time. This is regardless of the fact that what they are in for is no longer a crime in the eyes of the law.
Israel has always been on the forefront of research when it comes to cannabis. In fact, it has lead scientific enquiries related to cannabis that allowed us to understand the properties of this plant in medical light. As of the moment, there are around 28,000 medical marijuana patients in Israel. The number is set to double this year while the recreational use is still prohibited. The possession of as little as half an ounce of marijuana for personal use can place the subject behind bars for up to three years.
Lebovich raised a point stating that this hoax of a plan is not defined well. According to him, “If lawmakers agree that cannabis isn’t a crime why prosecute at all?”
The chairman of the Green Leafy party has deemed the recently proposed “decriminalization” plan as a disappointing measure. The only bright side to it is that the plan still needs two months to be converted into a law. This means that those in favor of amendment have two months’ worth of time to alter the plan.
A paper published by Ruth Dreifuss—former Switzerland president—stated that a full decriminalization attempt in Europe went on to offer a wide range of health and economic benefits. On the other hand, this partial attempt by the Israeli government may bring upon adverse results. It will make the first-time offenders to pay a $270 fine and admit their offense, or face prosecution instead. Second-time offenders would have to pay an increased fine of $550. Third-timers would lose their driver’s license and be sent to rehab while fourth-time offenders of the proposed “decriminalization” can face a maximum of three years in jail as per the decision of the judge.