Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Passed by Israel Health Committee

A key Israeli committee has given approval to legislation to decriminalize the personal possession of marijuana, reports Israel National News.

The Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee voted unanimously today to approve the measure through its second and third votes. The bill makes possessing and using cannabis for personal consumption no longer a criminal offense for a person’s first three offenses within a five year period (after five years it resets). The bill will not apply to minors, soldiers and prisoners, as well as to those who committed another crime.

Under the proposed law, which now moves to the full  Knesset, a person caught possessing marijuana for the first time in five years would receive a maximum ticket of 1,000 shekels, or  around $275. A second offense would be 2,000 shekels, and a third offense would be either a higher fine or the requirement of community service.

The measure is proposed as a temporary order lasting three years, at which point lawmakers would have to decide to renew the law or allow it to expire.

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