Features and A&E editor
Israel, a country leading the world in medical marijuana research, has decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana. Rather than continue to arrest and prosecute individuals caught with the drug, they are going to fine people. However, those caught growing or selling the drug will be arrested.
Israel already legalized medical marijuana, and according to the Prime Minister Ayelet Shaked, "Israel cannot shut its eyes to the changes being made across the world in respect to marijuana consumption and its effects.”
There are a recorded 25,000 people who have a license to use medical marijuana, with more to come, and only 188 arrests for the use of it recreationally this past year, which is a 56 percent drop from 2010. The goal is to reduce the number of prosecutions for recreational drug use, which decriminalizing would hopefully do. The policy would apply to those carrying up to 15 grams of the drug, and first time offenders would receive a fine of $265, but would not appear on their criminal record. With the second and third offenses the punishment would increase, the second time resulting in a doubling of their first fine, and the third offense being a punishment determined by the police.
The Israelis believe this process will ultimately reduce the number of drug-related arrests in the country, and positively affect the country as a whole.