Israel moves towards decriminalizing marijuana use

| Updated: Jan 28, 2017 10:26 IST

Jerusalem [Israel], Jan. 28 (ANI): In a move seen as a step toward marijuana decriminalization in Israel, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced a new policy that would cut down on prosecution for recreational use of the drug. Erdan said the plan would usher in a "shift to decriminalization with responsibility", reports the CNN. Some European countries and the United States already have embraced this approach with a few legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The proposal comes on the heels of a Justice Ministry recommendation that marijuana use not be prosecuted criminally, but instead fined or punished by administrative sanctions. The new policy would apply to users carrying up to 15 grams. If passed, first-time offenders would face a fine of around USD 265, with the offense not appearing on their criminal record. Those caught for a second time would see the fine double. If caught a third time, the punishment would be at the discretion of the police. On the fourth offense, the suspect could face criminal prosecution. Minors caught for the first time with marijuana would be criminally prosecuted only if they refused to take part in a treatment program. The second offense would be closed with a special settlement. The third time could trigger criminal proceedings. Israel's cabinet must approve the policy shift before it can be enacted. Meanwhile, as officials relax laws regarding marijuana, the nation's crackdown on cigarettes continues to expand. Israel's Health Ministry recently announced stricter rules, including a complete ban on cigarette advertising, requiring cigarette packaging to include illustrated warnings, and expanding the ban on smoking in public places. (ANI)