Israel To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Within The Year
Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn said a memo on the legislation would be prepared for government approval in the coming days and the bill could reach the Knesset for first reading by the end of 2020, with the entire legislative process expected to take about nine months. Once the government approves the bill, it will be rewritten and published before it is handed over to the Justice Department.
During a special discussion on Thursday Deputy Attorney General Amit Merari presented to the Minister of Justice the extensive and thorough human resources work of the Committee and the experts at its disposal, presented by the Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Shlomo Cotler-Wunsh, and the Deputy Chief of Staff. During this discussion recommendations were formulated for the implementation of cannabis legalisation and decriminalisation policies in the country where the area is regulated. I am committed to guiding, driving forward and monitoring the implementation of these reform recommendations to ensure that the necessary preparations are made at the best possible time, "Cotler and Wunsh said.
Those who expect to smoke legally, however, will have to wait, as there is still a research and legislative area that various government agencies must prepare. The committee said the Colorado model contained far less data than when the state in the Rockies voted to legalize cannabis in 2012.
A significant part of the budget for the first nine months after legalisation will be devoted to social and Community measures. Similar to the Canadian model, the focus of policy is on the prevention of cannabis use and addiction among adolescents.
During this period, the various offices will work together with their own departments to regulate the market. The new law is expected to be adopted at first reading in the Knesset next month and complete the entire legislative process by the end of the year, after which it will be the subject of a two-year public consultation period.
Once this process is complete, Israelis and tourists can buy cannabis in Israel provided they are over 21 years old. MERARI presented evidence that there is no justification for banning drugs, that the drug is very widespread in the public domain and that its legal consequences currently outweigh its medical consequences. The majority of committee members agreed with the conclusion that "the benefits of legalizing cannabis outweigh any disadvantages."
The nine months will be used to answer the many questions raised by the legislation and to prepare a data network so that the Ministry of Health will be able to research and monitor the market once it is legally open. It is not yet decided whether persons under 21 years of age and persons over 21 years of age will be allowed to possess cannabis. Home-grown produce is illegal at first, but could be reconsidered when it comes to the market.
In the transport sector, the dangers of driving under the influence of cannabis are highlighted, especially when it is mixed with alcohol. Many questions remain about the use of THC breath alcohol tests that are used today, which means that this area could be one of the biggest loopholes that need to be addressed before legislation can be passed.
In the communication, ITAMAR's GROTTO stated that there are three reasons why they were satisfied with the recommendations. The first is the harm reduction approach in the recommendation, which aims to gradually reduce the overall harm resulting from the criminalisation and dependence of cannabis. Although criminalization has reduced the number of consumers, as has been the case in Israel since the country was founded in 1948, there is still a need for better prevention and treatment methods. Second, legalization would be supported by the medical community and the general public, not just the cannabis industry, "Grotto said.
MK Ram SHEFA, who proposed the legalization bill that passed through preliminary hearings in June, addressed the meeting in isolation with a zoom and thanked the team for their hard work. Grotto also mentioned the need to separate the medical and recreational drug markets, saying that in some respects they were still at the beginning of the journey.
Shefa said Israel was a relative leader in cannabis use, but the market needed to be regulated. The chairman of the Knesset's education committee said he was "very excited" about the prospect of legalisation, especially for young people.
I think we have a responsibility to address the addiction problem, and the best way to solve it is to keep our eyes open, and I think a lot of people can get rid of the criminal feeling that this can and should be regulated, "he said. Shefa stressed that while the law has not yet passed its first reading, the looming specter of legalization in the United States and other countries could complicate the chances of legalization if it passes. We know that we still have hurdles to overcome and that the legislation will take many months, which will force us to find possible solutions and compromises. But I am confident that with a broad consensus around the table we would have been able to: Do it in a safe and responsible way I believe that many of our people, especially young people and people with mental health problems, will be very upset about this and believe that they will all be able to get rid of the criminals who feel that this is something that can or should be regulated.
We will not allow any party, no MK or anyone to prevent us from taking steps that would help many people in a responsible way, "Shefa said.
LIKUD MK Sharren Haskel, who drafted the draft for decriminalisation, thanked Nissenkorn and the committee for their work, but criticised Shefa's decision to decriminalise cannabis and his lack of consultation with the Knesset. Haskel acknowledged that the bill is likely to pass, but appeared to confirm that, saying, "I will make sure we work together and finish this bill before we dissolve it," before interrupting and amending his remarks to express his support for passage.
We still have to discuss it in the meantime, but we can pass this bill very soon and expect it to be completed in the last quarter of next year, "said Nissenkorn. This will be followed by a request for a framework agreement, which is expected to be concluded "in the last quarter of 2021. We expect the framework agreements to be completed in the "last quarter" of 2021, he said, with a final decision on the legal status of the cannabis market due by the end of 2018.