Cannabis possession will not be reason to be jailed in this Middle East country
Since the first of April, 2019, the use of cannabis in Israel, as far as you consume the substance privately, is not a crime. The government of Israel is becoming “greener” and so is the way they are now looking at the cannabis.
Before midnight, on March 31, 2019, you could go to jail for smoking or possessing cannabis. But after this date, the whole situation has changed.
Does it mean cannabis is now legal in Israel? Not at all! But at least, cannabis users have a different status. If you are caught with cannabis in public, you will be given a fine ($275), and remain free to walk away. If you are caught for a second time, again you are given a fine. In both cases, you pay a fine but, at least, you don’t get criminal record and you can go away.
If you are caught for the third time, again you are given a fine and you will be obliged to go through an awareness program. If you are caught for the fourth time, still you will pay a fine but the officers will not arrest you, unless they think you are uncontrolled and can become a public danger.
Do you think the new cannabis status is not enough? Maybe is not; but still it is much better than before, when you could get arrested and fined for simple possession of cannabis. The police will not arrest you for being caught with a little bit of cannabis. They simply will give you a fine and ask you to walk away; unless you are smoking the herb in public places. Police has been ordered to quit enforcing restrictions on cannabis, as long as the users do it in the privacy of their homes. 15 grams of cannabis is the legal limit for private consume. Keeping with you more than that, is still considered intent to sell it and is a crime.
At least you know that when you are caught in public, the money from your fine will go to education and drug abuse programs. Your money will also go to pay sophisticated equipments for the police, so that they can easily detect drivers who are driving under the influence of cannabis; something that is a severe crime in Israel. If you are caught driving under the effects of marijuana, you will be fined and spend a night in jail. Moreover, you will get a criminal record.
Young people under the age of 18 who are caught with cannabis, don’t pay a fine; their parents will. But in order to avoid a criminal case, the minors must attend some special meetings about drugs and their consequences. But being less than 18 years old and getting caught with cannabis more than once is not a small problem. The youth who is caught more than two times gets booked with a crime; something that could bring nasty consequences for him in the future.
This new way to watch legal status of marijuana will be tested for three years. After this period it will be reviewed and the authorities will decide if the new status remains the same. If it does, the police will treat recreational cannabis with much more moderation and cannabis users will feel a little bit freer. But only a little bit!
Thousands of students in Israel have been asking for cannabis legalization for many years. The party’s platform, leaded by Moshe Feiglin, is gaining many voters among the young people thanks to his proposal of cannabis legalization. And it seems that his party will win more than the four seats needed to be part of the Knesset, after the April 9th elections. Slowly but surely, cannabis is winning the battle against prohibitionists in Israel.