Photo Credit: Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS
Israelis gathered in front of the Knesset to mark international marijuana day, April 20, 2017.

The Israel Police new enforcement policy against cannabis use will take effect on Sunday night at midnight as part of a decriminalization reform. The change follows a March 2017 government decision initiated by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, to amend the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance and in the Criminal Procedure Law. Starting tonight, the police will enforce the prohibition against holding or using cannabis for personal consumption by way of a fine.

According to the reform, anyone who is caught with up to 15 grams, defined as being for self-use, will not be arrested, but will receive a fine instead. A suspect will face an arrest only after being caught for the third time.

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This does not mean that smoking weed is legal, but that it has been downgraded to the level of J-walking or violating noise pollution laws.

As part of the new policy, the police will focus on enforcement in the public sphere, and stay out of users’ homes.

A first-time offender will be fined up to 1,000 shekel ($275), without a criminal record. A second fine will be imposed on a second offense, and the third offense will be followed with a criminal record which will be erased on condition of entering a drug prevention program.

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