Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Thursday morning, at a press conference that was simulcast on Facebook, announced a new policy of decriminalizing the use of cannabis.
According to Erdan, personal users who get caught for the first time will not be charged at all, they will not have a criminal record. The new policy defines personal use as being up to 15 grams, which, our sources in the cannabis community tell us, runs between $250 and $400, depending on quality and supply and demand.
Decriminalizing cannabis use does not make it legal in Israel, rather it will be downgraded to a level comparable to J-walking.
Erdan emphasized that police will no longer raid users’ homes but will focus instead on public use. The first time a user is caught in public will result in a fine of roughly $300, without a criminal record. A second public violation will result in double the original fine; and the third time (meaning the user is too dense or too stoned to avoid getting caught smoking weed in public), closing his or her criminal record would be conditioned on entering an approved rehab program.
Erdan said the new rules will be issued by his office in two to five months. The collected fines will be dedicated to funding anti-drug education and prevention. Police will be empowered to run drug checks on motorists, comparable to alcohol tests.