Israel closer to legalizing recreational marijuana use

i24NEWS

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Israelis in a demonstration to legalize marijuana in Tel Aviv, Israel, on April 20, 2021.
Tomer Neuberg/Flash90Israelis in a demonstration to legalize marijuana in Tel Aviv, Israel, on April 20, 2021.

The move is intended 'to lift the criminal labeling and the stain that accompanies it'

Top Israeli officials announced on Sunday that they are considering expunging the criminal records of those convicted of personal possession or use of marijuana.

If the new regulations are approved, those with recreation-use convictions could request their records to be voided, and those with pending charges would be able to ask for them to be dropped, Haaretz reported.

The move is intended “to lift the criminal labeling and the stain that accompanies it” and to “complement decriminalization regulations published last month,” Israel’s President Isaac Herzog and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar said.

Sa’ar is expected to soon sign the regulations and approval is anticipated by Israel’s parliament (Knesset) shortly after.

The new policy would not apply to those charged with other offenses alongside cannabis use, apart from those charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, those convicted during military service, or to minors.

Each request would be considered “individually, based on circumstances,” according to Haaretz.

Sa’ar proposed an order in early February that currently prevents the issuing of a criminal record for the first few offenses, although it is set to expire at the end of March.

The draft of new regulations states that personal marijuana use would be completely decriminalized, and the maximum fine would be limited to around $300.

Minors, soldiers, police, and soldiers serving as service prison guards would still be charged as before, Haaretz reported.

Sa’ar proposed the regulations after deciding that there was no chance the Knesset would pass the full legalization reform presented in 2020.

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