Israel to legalize weed for recreational use within nine months

Published Nov 23, 2020 10:00 a.m. ET
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Israel's scientists have been looking into the medical applications and properties that cannabis possesses since the 1960s. Marijuana legalization for medical purposes has been part of this country’s makeup since the 1990s. Today things are changing, and plans have been announced for the legalization of recreational cannabis for those aged 21 and over.

The time has come to legalize weed in Israel, according to Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn.  However, recreational cannabis will not be legally consumed in public spaces. The Justice Minister had proclaimed that it is time for a responsible, significant, and holistic reform, echoing developed countries' positions while showing Israel’s integrity.

Going forward

Adults of 21 and over will be permitted to purchase recreational cannabis at specialized cannabis stores legally. Identification is necessary and will be required. Cannabis will not be allowed to be taken out of the immediate region. Delivery from cannabis shops will be legal, but those establishments will be barred from selling marijuana edibles that resemble candies.

According to the interministerial team's recommendation, prices will be reasonable to avoid driving customers towards the illicit market. The law will also prohibit smoking in any public place. If you wish to grow recreational cannabis at home, a license will be needed, but we don’t know how that will look, as the team is still looking for the matter to be addressed at a later date.

All cannabis ads will be prohibited, just as cigarette advertising is. Hopefully, those bodies that require a security screening revisit the policy that disqualifies those that use cannabis. It is also pertinent to remember that cannabis will not be legally transported in or out of the country.

Massive companies currently worth billions of dollars in the stock market will see recreational cannabis initiation be suitable for economic reasons. For this reason alone, recreational cannabis will become legal very soon in Israel. COVID-19 has devastated many businesses worldwide, and Israel is looking for a means to repair the damage to the economy. Perhaps recreational cannabis can be the provider of more than just good feelings.

The attraction of cannabis tourists will help the economy will be enriched when marijuana legalization comes to light. Recent times have shown that Israel is a leading exporter of the cannabis crop, and accessing the few dispensaries available to distribute medical cannabis needs to be addressed. Cannabis as a recreational drug is illegal, although 2017 saw partial decriminalization, which brought fines and treatment for those initial offenders. A form of punishment was chosen in preference to criminal procedures.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Defense Minister Benny Gantz's Blue and White parties, in a joint statement, vowed to resolve the issue of legalization and the decriminalization of weed. The statement also made an important note for the medical cannabis patient. The reform will make it easier for patients to access the needed treatment and for growers to navigate the process of obtaining a license.

Amir Merari's words are perhaps worth listening to, as he believes that the government's plan to favour marijuana legalization over the decriminalization of the substance doesn't provide a solution to the illicit market. He acknowledges that the legalization of cannabis substance is more common than the decriminalization of cannabis today, but he doesn’t believe that it will stomp out black market sources.

Final words

Israel has not been slow with progress, as the steps that the country has taken will help to ensure that medical cannabis is available for those in need. As such, the country is about to become a major exporter of cannabis.  Two linked bills have passed the preliminary readings, allowing recreational cannabis sales to any adult aged 21 years or older from authorized shops.

The CEO of The Mahteret,  a members-only illegal cannabis delivery service, believes that Israel is a country of stoners. The realm of cannabis users stretches from doctors to parents, and students, including people from all sectors of life. Those belonging to this community look at cannabis as a national plant. The CEO knows that when legalization passes, it will have a free and more expansive effect than what’s on the books for legal adult-use cannabis in the U.S.A. or the Netherlands.

Let's assume that the correct explanatory memorandum of a bill that was formulated keeping in accordance with the suggested recommendations will be published by the end of November as expected. Legalization will take place nine months after this action is taken, which means that at some point in 2021, residents will finally be able to buy and consume cannabis freely.

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