Israeli PM backs legalization of recreational marijuana

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 24 2020 10:32 AM

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he was pushing to legalize recreational cannabis in the Jewish state, along the lines enacted by Canada in 2018.

Israel has already partially decriminalized recreational marijuana use, setting fines and treatment for initial offenders instead of criminal prosecution.

It allows tightly-regulated use of the drug for medicinal purposes and its cultivation and export by government-licenced growers.

Writing on his Facebook page Netanyahu said that a committee chaired by newly-appointed justice minister Amir Ohana would look at implementing lessons from Canada, which in 2018 became the first major economy to legalise recreational use of cannabis.

"Minister Ohana has begun work on the issue and he will chair a committee of professionals," Netanyahu wrote in Hebrew.

The forum, he added, "will examine bringing in the Canadian model for regulating a legal market in Israel."

Canada's Cannabis Act, the outcome of an election promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, allows adults to buy up to 30 grammes and grow up to four plants at home for personal use.

Netanyahu said that the Israeli committee would be advised by the chairman of the Green Leaf party which advocates legalisation but has never won a seat in parliament.

It is not running in next week's general election, the third within 12 months after two previous rounds ended in deadlock.

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