Israel intends legalizing marijuana for recreational use. It plans to do so within nine months. What is more, according to Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, it will do so while balancing “liberalism and responsibility.” Weed delivery appears imminent now in Israel. Alongside Sharren Haskel, Likud MK, and Ram Shefa, Blue and White MK, Nissenkorn made these recommendations.
He made them to an interministerial team specifically tasked with reviewing the issue of legalization. Nissenkorn explained that a bill formulating these recommendations would be available for publication by November’s end. He also said that legalization would go into effect exactly nine months after its approval. This timeframe, he clarified, would give time for government ministries to prepare.
“It is time,” Nissenkorn said, “to make progress and legalize cannabis in Israel. This is a significant, holistic, and responsible reform, which shows the State of Israel is not ignoring reality and is going in the footsteps of developed countries.” The promoted law will allow anybody 21-years or older to buy weed at specific outlets. It will also compel them to prove their age by showing identification.
Cannabis Reform in Israel
The bill will not allow cannabis in or out of the country. This includes both businesses and individuals. In this way, Israel will provide for its own market. According to these recommendations by the interministerial team, the state will ensure reasonable prices. This to entice consumers to the legal industry, ultimately incentivizing them to leave the black market.
That is not all. The bill will permit marijuana delivery. Stores will be able to make deliveries without legal disturbance. However, they will not be able to sell edibles, particularly those that resemble candy in any way. The intent of this is to ensure no children confuse cannabis-infused candy with their own and accidentally ingest them; a cause PubMed tells us is increasing emergency room admissions of kids.
However, the bill will also ban smoking weed in public areas. It will prohibit all growing without a license, even home growing, although the team agrees to weigh this issue again later. As with cigarettes, the bill will not allow any cannabis advertising. Further, it recommends that different agencies needing security screening consider again their existing policies. Currently, they disqualify cannabis users.
A Legal Market
According to Deputy Attorney General, Amir Merari, the Israeli government favors legalization more than it does decriminalization, the more common preference of many other countries. Its reason for this is that “decriminalization does not provide a solution for problems such as the black market.” Only a legal marketplace does, since it can outcompete it.
Shefa and Haskel both applauded the decision. The Likud lawmaker openly exclaimed it “does justice to more than a million lawful citizens.” The Blue and White MK was in fine flair too, declaring that, “We will not let anyone in the Knesset or outside it stop us.” Over recent years, Israel has been leading the weed world. It legalized medical use last year, heads global cannabis research, and is famous for its strains.
Now, it stands poised already to become a significant exporter of cannabis, despite local users complaining near endlessly of access being quite impossible at the few outlets licensed to dispense it. Its recreational use is illegal now, even though the Public Security Ministry decriminalized it partially back in 2017 already. It currently sets fines and punishments for first-time offenders, instead of criminal actions.
News of the recommendations broke earlier this month. An even earlier report, published by Times of Israel, shows the new push for legislative reform came after following a change of direction within the Ministry of Health itself, until recently run by Yaakov Litzman, United Torah Judaism leader. Back in June, two bills to legalize weed use passed preliminary hearings in the Knesset.
What is more, they passed just ahead of the three votes needed for them to become law. As with the new bill, those bills also made legal the selling and buying of weed for anyone 21-years or older in licensed stores. They also prohibited any growing of cannabis at home. Nobody would be able to grow even a single plant without a license. Not a company. Not you.
Both Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White parties and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party said at the time in joint statement that they would continue with legalization “to resolve the issue of decriminalization and legalization.” Everybody seems in agreement on advancing reform and opening up marijuana delivery for business.
According to the statement, legalization would occur only “via a responsible model that will be suited to the State of Israel and the Israeli population.” They also noted a firm decision to continue with reforms to medical cannabis. This is to make access easier for patients needing treatment, and to make it easier for legitimate growers to obtain legal and lawful licenses.
California already enjoys a legal market. Marijuana delivery is widely available. Soon, you might type “weed delivery near me” into a search engine in Tel Aviv and have Israeli’s finest weed arrive within the hour. Since the country intends mimicking the legal industries of other countries, let California stand as a proud model. The state certainly welcomes another country into the legalization fray.