Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation has approved a proposal that would decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana.
The measure, put forth by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), would make the possession of marijuana for personal use a maximum fine of 1,000 shekels ($282) for someone’s first offense. For a second offense, the fine would be doubled. For a third offense, individuals would be put on a mandatory probation period. A fourth offense would remain punishable by potential jail time. Consuming marijuana in public – as well as distributing the plant – would remain a crime for someone’s first offense.
“When we started our struggle, people disrespected us, but the Ministerial Committee’s decision today is proof that a real, persistent struggle succeeds in the end”, says MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), who heads the Knesset Committee on Drug and Alcohol abuse and supports legalization. “This bill is far from being perfect, but it is a foot in the door on the way to full legalization.”
The legislation must now go through Israel’s full Knesset (parliament) before it can become law.