Marijuana use in Israel for recreational purposes could become a reality if a recently-elected, first-term politician has his way. Freshman MK Yinon Magal of the Jewish Home party recently proposed the legislation, the Times of Israel reported, and he will likely have the strong support of his constituents and fellow lawmakers. Magal, who has famously admitted to smoking marijuana, said shortly after being elected that he thought the “legalization of cannabis is connected to freedom of the individual” and echoed complaints heard in the U.S. over the damage an arrest for marijuana can do to one’s livelihood.
“This is first and foremost a social proposal meant for youngsters from lower socioeconomic backgrounds that were arrested for a grain of cannabis, spent a night in jail with crooks and may [as a consequence] fall into the world of crime,” Magal said recently.
Magal’s announcement comes on the heels of Israel’s law enforcement exploring the possibility of updating its laws when it comes to marijuana and its users. Israel's Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, who has been in contact with Magal over the issue, formed an exploratory committee to look into the country’s marijuana laws for both recreational and medical purposes.
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“More and more citizens desire and are demanding that the use of cannabis be permitted in one form or another,” Danino has said, according to Haaretz. “Over a long number of years, the police have traditionally refused. Newly elected Knesset members have asked me what the police position is now in 2015.”
The demand for reforming the country’s marijuana laws has seemingly hit an all-time high. A group of farmers last month demanded that the Israeli Health Ministry issue an increasing number of licenses that would legally allow more farmers to grow marijuana for the government, which is charged with dispensing medical marijuana, which has been legal in Israel for seven years.
Other politicians besides Magal have come out in support of legalizing marijuana. About 1,000 people demonstrated early last month at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv during a “Cannabis March,” including current and former Knesset members. “This is something less dangerous than a cigarette and less addictive than a glass of whiskey,” Former Likud Knesset member Moshe Feiglin said during the event, according to JTA.“We need to step out of this fear and make this a country of freedom.”