Israel: Government approves measure to decriminalize marijuana

Rolling a joint (illustrative photo: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)
Rolling a joint (illustrative photo: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)
Netanyahu says ‘we are open to the future… but also understand the dangers;’ critics say new proposal is watered down

By Alexander Fulbright | The Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel will move forward with marijuana legislation in a “cautious, controlled manner” as the cabinet approved a blueprint for decriminalization of personal use and possession.

During the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, ministers approved the proposed guidelines on decriminalization put forward by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), allowing for the establishment of an interministerial committee of directors that will decide how best to implement the measure.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu said that government would move forward with the issue in a “cautious, controlled manner.”

“On the hand one, we are open to the future,” he said, adding that “we also understand the dangers and we will try to balance the two things.”

However, the move drew criticism from legalization campaigners, who said that recent last-minute changes to the proposals had undermined the effectiveness of it.

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