Israel Set to Decriminalize Marijuana

As more and more countries begin to pursue more liberal drug policies, it appears Israel will take a major step forward in cannabis reform.

Israeli lawmakers are preparing to decriminalize marijuana in the near future. Under the current proposal, people who are caught with marijuana would pay a fine of 1000 NIS (about $250 in the U.S.), a second offense would result in a 2000 NIS fine, and a third offense would lead to another negotiated fine plus community service. The new law would be in place for three years to be studied and then the government will determine whether it's a successful policy or if they should tweak it.

Israeli Security Minister Gilad Erdan spoke in favor of the law saying he “hopes and believes that the law will prevent unnecessary incrimination of civilians, while also minimizing cannabis consumption, especially for our youth.”

Israel is actually one of the pioneering countries when it comes to medical marijuana. The country is heavily investing in research and development of medicinal cannabis, and last year they approved new measures to allow exporting the drug. However they've also instituted some roadblocks such as restrictions on foreign investment into the industry and the country hasn't fully approved exporting cannabis yet.

But compared to many countries in the world, Israel is light-years ahead when it comes to cannabis.

(h/t JNS)

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I've been covering cannabis for nearly five years, and by now I'm all too accustomed to the impersonal cannabis conference at a stuffy, generic hotel or expo hall, brimming with white guys in suits, and generally lacking in the spirit of well, cannabis. (The woes of legalization, I suppose.) So it was a breath of fresh air when I walked into what felt like a giant atrium in downtown LA for a new kind of cannabis conference. Located in what's called the Valentine Grass Room in an industrial area past the hustle and bustle of the DTLA skyscrapers, Microscopes & Machines (M&M) boasted a diverse array of speakers, from doctors and lawyers to chemists and cultivators on the frontlines of the cannabis industry.

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