Israel’s Cabinet decriminalized the recreational use of cannabis, or marijuana, at its weekly meeting held on Sunday, February 5, 2017.Under the new policy, first-time offenders caught using marijuana in public will be subject to a fine of approximately $250, but will not face criminal charges. The money will be used for drug rehabilitation and education.
A second offense will be subject to a fine of approximately $500, while a third offense may require rehabilitation, education and a suspended driver’s license. A fourth offense will be subject to prosecution and a possible prison term.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said “whether one supports use of cannabis or is opposed, it is wrong to judge cannabis users per criminal law and its derivatives. The State of Israel cannot turn a blind eye in light of changes worldwide regarding cannabis consumption and effect.”
More than 20 countries are exploring changes to their marijuana law in the United States, 8 states and the District of Columbia now allow for recreational sales and medical prescriptions. Worldwide, many nations have already decriminalized cannabis in an attempt to combat societal problems associated with its use including the Netherlands, Mexico, Czech Republic, Costa Rica and Portugal.