Knesset committee to approve bill to legalize cannabis
Employee tends to medical cannabis plants at Pharmocann, an Israeli medical cannabis company in northern Israel
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
The use of cannabis will be permitted to Israelis from the age of 21, with the exception of those working in security positions.
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation is set to approve a bill on Sunday submitted by Likud MK Sharren Haskel that would decriminalize the use of cannabis for Israeli consumers."My bill for the decriminalization of cannabis use will be approved by the legislative committee today," Haskel said in a statement early Sunday morning.
"This is big news in the fight for over a million citizens and tens of thousands of patients waiting for the day the State of Israel ceases to treat them as criminals."Haskel's bill was one of two separate bills that that will appear before the committee that seek to legalize cannabis, with the other bill having been submitted by Blue and White MK Ram Shefa, respectively. The bills were postponed last week, due in part to opposition from Community Development Minister Orly Levy-Abecassis (Gesher).But Levy-Abecassis agreed to permit the bills to advance in the committee on condition that they will be coordinated with her ministry further on in the legislative process. According to the bill's outline, which was published by N12, the use of cannabis will be permitted to Israelis from the age of 21, with the exception of those working in security positions. In addition, it will be prohibited to drive while using cannabis, and an advocacy fund will be set up to educate people in schools about the dangers of using cannabis and to prevent addictions. All advertising restrictions relating to tobacco will also apply to cannabis products. If the bill passes, it would pave the way for the establishment of cannabis retail outlets in Israel.However, it must also pass three readings in the Knesset plenum as well as discussions in the relevant committee in order to be written into law.Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.