Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / FLASH90
Cannabis plant on view at the Knesset, Nov 24, 2009

A new bill permitting the growing of one cannabis plant at home, which also eliminates the incrimination of buyers of cannabis will apparently not receive Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s caretaker government’s approval to be submitted for an initial Knesset plenum vote in the coming days, Cannabis Magazine reported Tuesday.

The bill’s sponsor, MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) announced after the dispersal of the 21st Knesset that although the government is only transitional until after the elections, and cannot approve substantive changes (such as a budget), there was still a way to submit her bill to a vote and even receive the House’s approval.

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Haskel even suggested that Netanyahu supported her bill, and therefore she believed that it could be approved by the government even before the Knesset leaves on a long pre-election break next week, with final approval in a Knesset vote during the break.

Haskel argued against the common public perception that the limited legalization bill was nothing more than an election spin whose sole purpose was to lure single-issue voters from Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party to vote Likud, without a chance of receiving the Knesset’s approval in the required three readings in such a short time.

Haskel now admits that, contrary to her hopes, it won’t be possible to approve the bill, and therefore it is not expected to come up for a vote in the current Knesset. If it is submitted at all, it would be only after the swearing-in of the new government following the September 17 elections.

A government source told Cannabis that “from the outset there was no chance for this proposal to go up for a vote in the current Knesset.” The source added that “this was a public deception, to put it mildly, perhaps a kind of election spin.”

The Haskel bill abolishes the incrimination of the private cultivation of one cannabis potted plant at home, yielding up to 50 grams, as well as up to 15 cannabis seeds; as well as removing CBD (the cannabis without reported hallucinatory effects) from the local equivalence of a Schedule I controlled substance list and permitting its free trade and use.

In addition, according to the bill, the fines imposed on holding cannabis in public or on exceeding the quantities allowed for self-use will be much lower than the fines approved by Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Minister of Information Gilad Erdan (Likud), which entered into effect two months ago and has already collected over 2 million shekels ($550,000) in fines from users.

On April 22, 2020, the High Court of Justice is scheduled to hold its first hearing on the legality of Israel’s cannabis regulations.

MK Haskel said optimistically (no weed jokes, please), “I do not give up. I am working and will continue to work to promote a real non-incrimination. The Israeli public is in distress and I will seize every opportunity or political opening to pass this bill.”

The Prime Minister’s Office did not issue a response (no weed jokes, please).

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