Israel’s National Police Chief, Yohanan Danino, is urging government and law enforcement officials to reconsider the country’s prohibition of cannabis by asking that they take a closer look at how the legalization process has gone in other countries.
Danino (photo below) acknowledged his request for Israel to reconsider its current laws on cannabis, which currently state that its possession or sale is a criminal offense, during a speaking engagement at a Beit Shemesh high school. He noted a 2013 survey indicating that more than 20 percent of Israeli adults use marijuana recreationally, and that almost half of those users (46 percent) were in favor of legalizing the the plant for personal use.
Danino’s sentiments echoed those he stated during an interview with Yisrael Hayom last year:
“I’m not concerned about somebody who’s rolling a joint on their balcony in this neighborhood or that.”
“I look at the dangerous drug addict, the one who robs and steals in order to get his fix.”
Supporters of legalization believe that law enforcement resources would be better spent on more serious criminal matters like acts of violence or theft.
In 2013, there were 23,312 Israelis charged with drug offenses for personal use of the plant, which was a rise of almost 300 arrests over the year prior. Israelis are also increasingly being charged with cannabis cultivation within the country’s borders. This is likely due to many factors including that obtaining it has become more difficult because of Egypt’s border fence and additional scrutiny from law enforcement.
It seems that the public, along with some officials, are ready for a change. Although the less-knowledgeable opponents argue that the physical and mental effects of marijuana could have negative effects on younger users. The one thing that many agree upon is their willingness to support medical marijuana if it is well regulated.
photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM via JPOST