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Israel to decriminalise cannabis

Two hydroponic cannabis plants [Plantlady223/Wikipedia]
Two hydroponic cannabis plants [Plantlady223/Wikipedia]

The Israeli government approved a proposal on Sunday to decriminalise the use of cannabis, Arabs48.com has reported. Users will be allowed to possess 15gm of the drug. However, those who use the drug in public will still be fined up to $270, although they will not have a criminal record.

The proposal was introduced by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. "The government's approval is an important step on the way to implement the new policy, which will emphasise public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement," Erdan explained.

According to Arabs48.com, the proposals went to the ministerial council due to the large number of cannabis users in Israel.

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"This sends a message that a million Israelis who consume marijuana are not criminals," said Tamar Zandberg MK, the chairwoman of the Knesset Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. "We will carry on following the details in the committee and ensure that the change is implemented."

Haaretz pointed out that minors who are caught using cannabis would not be classed as criminals unless they refuse to attend a treatment programme. Meanwhile, the police will retain the authority to keep or delete the names of cannabis users from the criminal records. Officers will also be able to withdraw driving and arms licences for users caught with cannabis for the fourth time.

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