Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation advanced two bills decriminalizing the use of recreational marijuana on Sunday, opening the doors for the potential full legalization of recreational marijuana in Israel.
The bills, which were proposed by Likud MK Sharren Haskel and Blue & White MK Ram Shefa, are expected to pass a preliminary reading in the Knesset on Wednesday. The bills would then be combined and would have to be approved by the committee and Knesset three times as a government-sponsored bill before becoming law.
Haskel spearheaded the initiative after having led a campaign for the past five years for the decriminalization of cannabis use in Israel.
The bills decriminalize the possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana for personal use or up to two cannabis plants for personal use for adults over age 21. Using marijuana in public and possessing a larger amount would remain illegal as well as driving while under the influence of cannabis.
Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) and Jerusalem Affair Minister Rafi Peretz (Bayit Yehudi) voted against the bills.
“Cannabis is a dangerous drug, and if people need it, they can get it by prescription,” Litzman said.
“We can’t abandon our youth to a future of drug abuse,” Rabbi Peretz said. “It begins with marijuana and ends with much harder drugs.”
Community Development Minister Orly Levy-Abecassis (Gesher), who oversees the Anti-Drug and Alcohol Authority conditioned her support for the bills on coordination with her ministry during the continuation of the legislative process. She also demanded the implementation of measures to prevent minors from accessing marijuana.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)