Legalisation of Cannabis

Background

At the economic level, criminalization of the cannabis plant costs us NIS 700 million annually in enforcement resources and another NIS 4 billion in taxes that are not collected from Israeli production.

 

As to security, as long as cannabis is not legalized, it serves as an easy funding source for crime families and terror organizations. Israeli regularization and oversight will hit those entities hard and enhance the ability of security forces to focus on combatting violent crime and terror.

 

In the 23rd Knesset, MK Sharren Haskell introduced a bill for regularizing the cannabis sector, with the aim of associating Israel with corresponding trends in the developed world. On the heels of successful models in Colorado and Canada, we will legalize cannabis responsibly, together with meticulously ensuring the well-being of the public in two primary ways:

 

  1. Treating addiction – though the cannabis plant does not addict at the physical level, one might develop a psychological addiction to it. Using the income from cannabis taxes, we will initiate a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of cannabis use, we will make people aware that overuse of drugs is a medical problem, not a criminal one, and by removing the stigma, we will be able to act in order to return addicts to the righteous path and turn them into responsible and productive citizens.

 

  1. Use among minors – we will apply the regulations and constraints on the use of alcohol and tobacco by minors to cannabis. We will impose criminal responsibility and revoke the licenses of cannabis stores that sell to minors. This way, we will be able to better oversee the prevention of cannabis use among the youth, as opposed to the current situation in which it is sold on the black market without oversight. Likewise, we will demand warning labels on cannabis products containing THC as is done elsewhere, and we will emphasize that their use is prohibited and dangerous for minors and pregnant women. Additionally, buying and selling cannabis will be prohibited under the age of 21 in order to prevent cannabis use by IDF soldiers.

 

In this way too we will strengthen the position of Israeli farmers as leading cannabis producers in the world, both for medical purposes and personal use, and thus we will provide an important source of income to Israeli farmers. Our goal is to transform Israel into a leader in the cannabis arena, something that will contribute to the Israeli economy and state revenues.

Primary Modes of Action

1. Decriminalization and legal regulation

Within 100 days of establishing the Government, we will enact a true cannabis decriminalization law. In parallel, within a year, we will propose responsible regulation of the cannabis market, including removal of criminal and terror forces from the sector and diverting income to the State for publicity and addiction prevention.

 

We will learn from experience around the world about how to create smart regulation that prevents the dangers mentioned above, while maintaining a competitive marketplace.

2. Reform in medical cannabis

The current way the Israeli medical cannabis sector is managed has failed severely. Critically ill citizens, like those suffering from cancer or fibromyalgia find that they need to confront a choking bureaucracy the blocks them from needed drugs. 

 

  • The failed management of the Department of Medical Cannabis in the Health Ministry has caused interruptions in the care of the ill and increased costs. This failure has made it impossible for the critically ill to have access to cures. We therefore must transform the Department into a supervisory unit rather than an operational one.

3. Inclusion of cannabis as an “approved drug”

We will act to include cannabis as an approved drug and will enable expert physicians to prescribe it to patients who need it.

4. Cannabis agriculture

Another important result of the stringent regulation on cannabis farming is the fact that Israel is number one in the world in importing cannabis. We can transform ourselves into a cannabis superpower that produces all it needs and even exports. In the context of the regulatory revolution that will transform Israel into a leading exporter, we will provide income to Israeli farmers and eco-system industries, we will increase State revenues, shorten the production cycle, and offer low cost and variety to the ill.

5. Permitted use of cannabis strains

Israel has specialized regulations for specific permitted strains of cannabis, which make common medical strains illegal. This regulation is not relevant to farming, and it is the sick who pay the price. The strain that suits every person is an individualized matter, and an ill person who cannot obtain the strain that is particularly suited for him/her is doomed to excessive suffering. We will permit the use of a variety of cannabis strains that are suited to the individual, on the recommendation of the attending physician.