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More than half of Israel soldiers smoke cannabis

Image of a cannabis plant [Sadak Mohamed/Anadolu Agency]
Cannabis plant, 3 July 2017

At least 54.3 per cent of the Israeli soldiers smoked cannabis last year, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

The paper said the official statistic issued by the Israel Anti-Drugs Authority (IADA) show a sharp rise in the number of soldiers using the illegal drug compared to 2009 when the rate was only 11 per cent.

"In the past, smoking hash was a dangerous crime in the army," the newspaper said. "In many cases, soldiers were indicted with criminal charges and sent to prison," it added.

"Since January 2017," the newspaper said, "the Israeli army adopted a more lenient policy, allowing Israeli soldiers to smoke up to five times while off duty."

The newspaper also said that "even for those who smoke cannabis on duty or more than five times do not face court-martials or criminal charges under the current regulations."

READ: Israel to decriminalise cannabis

One of the Israeli soldier said in a testimony: "The commanders also smoke, the staff smoke, the medical sergeant smokes, everyone smokes, so who will enforce this?"

"The company commander may not smoke but is aware of all the soldiers who smoke. He sees them walking away and then coming back a little tired, but he ignores it. It does not bother him, if they are not in an operational activity or there isn't a danger."

Yedioth Ahronoth reported a spokesman of the Israeli army saying: "The military considers smoking cannabis on duty a dangerous phenomenon and is working to deal with it in different ways, including training, spreading awareness, investigations and enforcing the law."

More than half of Israel soldiers smoke cannabis - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

More than half of Israel soldiers smoke cannabis – Is the peace possible when you are on drugs… – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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