Israel is set to decriminalize cannabis for adult use ahead of the United States, its Western ally which also happens to be the world’s largest cannabis hub thanks to a patchwork of state legalizations.
While US President Joe Biden has been busy putting in place policies to deny government security clearance to those who have invested in cannabis companies, the Israeli government is poised to approve regulations that would decriminalize use. of cannabis by adults and erase the criminal records of those who have it. related convictions.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Justice Minister Gideon Saar announcement On March 6, people convicted of cannabis could submit a request to have their records erased. Additionally, people with pending criminal charges related to cannabis use or possession could have their charges dropped.
The joint statement by Herzog and Sa’ar, who is also deputy prime minister, refers to an April 2019 temporary order: the Dangerous Drugs Act states that possession or consumption of cannabis, when committed for the first or second time (within five years), would be considered liable to a fine. This order is due to expire at the end of this month.
Their special appeal this week comes after a February 9, 2022 proposal to amend the Administrative Rules and Order Act to establish the possession and use of cannabis as an administrative offense that would not warrant the opening of a record. judiciary, according to the press release.
The statement also says Herzog and Sa’ar’s appeal stems from a desire to erase the label of criminality and the “associated stain” from anyone with a previous cannabis conviction.
“It should be emphasized that each request will be considered on its merits, based on its particular circumstances, on an individual basis, taking into account the aforementioned changes in policy and law,” their statement read.
The new regulations would not apply to people who were also charged with separate offenses in addition to cannabis (with the exception of possession of drug paraphernalia). The special appeal also clarifies that those who were soldiers or minors at the time of their arrest would not be included in the debarment provisions.
Under the decriminalization elements of the new regulations, minors, soldiers and police would still be charged as before, reported Ha’aretz, Israel’s oldest printed newspaper. Otherwise, the maximum fine would be limited to 1,000 shekels, or about US$300, for personal use of cannabis.
The newspaper reported that Sa’ar is expected to sign the settlements in the coming days and that Israel’s unicameral parliament, the Knesset, is expected to approve them. Immediate implementation would follow.