Medical marijuana is not only a hot topic in the United States but in other countries as well. Israel began to research the medical uses of marijuana 50 years ago and is now a world leader in scientific research focused on medical marijuana.
The Israeli cannabis research and development efforts are unmatched by any other country. Israel is the pioneer in medical marijuana and experts have said that Israeli producers could become major exporters of medical marijuana. Their government though, does not allow producers to export their product.
Israel’s police chief asks government to re-evaluate policies
Last week, there was a major pro-marijuana rally in Israel and the country’s police chief Yohanan Danino has asked the Israeli legislative body (which is called the Knesset) to re-evaluate its regulations on the recreational use of marijuana.
Danino said, “I think it’s time for the police, along with the state, to reevaluate its traditional position.”
Recently, some Knesset members voiced their support for marijuana decriminalization. Danino said that he has spoken with legislators and urged them to re-evaluate the laws on marijuana use.
This is not the first time that Danino has addressed the issue. Two years ago, he said that he does not care about individuals smoking joints on their balcony. He said, “It is time to sit down and study cases from around the world.”
“I look at the dangerous drug addict, the one who robs and steals in order to get his fix,” he said.
A few legislators attended the protest
Last week, a few Knesset members from both sides of the political spectrum were spotted on the streets of Tel Aviv with over a thousand people who protested the criminalization of marijuana use. Several Knesset members have already spoken with Danino about marijuana legislation.
“During our conversation, we reached an outline that will allow recreational use of cannabis to be decriminalized, as long as consumers remain law-abiding citizens,” Knesset member Yinon Magal said.
Tamar Zandberg who is also a Knesset member, expressed her support for the legalization of marijuana. She said, “The public has progressed and understands marijuana consumers are normal citizens who do not harm anyone, and there is no reason to persecute and incriminate them.”
“It is now time for elected officials to advance and overhaul legislation,” she concluded.
Some people do not agree with Danino’s stance
Not everyone supported Danino’s opinion. The Israel Anti-Drug Authority said, “A statement like [Danino’s] shouldn’t come from a law enforcement official.”
Tzvi Hendel, the chairman of Israel’s Anti-Drug Authority said, “Marijuana is a dangerous drug, a drug that does great damage to everyone, in particular to young people up to age 25, whose bodies and minds are still developing.”
Hendel said that he does support the production of medical marijuana though.
Although the possession or sale of recreational marijuana is illegal in Israel, the country has one of the highest per capita rates of legal marijuana use, with over 21,000 people medically licensed to use the substance.
According to a 2013 poll, 20% of Israelis over the age of 21 have admitted to using recreational marijuana. The poll also found that 46% of Israelis believe that recreational marijuana should be legal.