Israel Lawmakers Unanimously Pass Bill to Legalize Marijuana Through First Reading

Legislation to legalize the use of marijuana was passed  through its first reading in the Israel Knesset (Legislature) today.

The bill, which was passed through its first reading in a unanimous vote, has been spearheaded by Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, who says Israel wants to “reduce the harms of drug usage regularly but avoid as much as possible the criminal stigmatization of average citizens.”

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) said that the passing of the bill marks “another important step on the road to our victory.” She notes that the law is “far from perfect, but it is a foot in the door on the way to a policy of full legalization.”

According to The Jersuael Post, the new bill “focuses on public enforcement: those caught with cannabis in public are subject to various fines: on the first offense, 1000 NIS and 2000 NIS for the second offense. Thereafter, only on the fourth offense, individuals may be subject to criminal proceedings.”

Last month, in a preliminary reading in the Knesset, an amendment to allow the export of medical marijuana passed unanimously. It will need to be passed by the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee before its first reading.

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