Erdan: Criminalizing Cannabis Users Has Failed

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. Genesis 1:29 (The Israel Bible™)

The policy of treating cannabis use as a criminal offense has failed, Homeland Security Minister Gilad Erdan told a Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee session on a bill to decriminalize cannabis use.

“The proposed law offers to change the attitude toward cannabis use from criminal prosecution to decriminalization,” Erdan told the committee. “We must take a look at the existing policy, which treats cannabis use as a criminal offense, determine whether it is the right policy, and consider whether a different (policy would) achieve better results, as the current policy has failed.”

Erdan’s Ministry of Homeland Security is in charge of the Israeli Police, which therefore makes him the most relevant minister for matters pertaining to police work and law enforcement policies. In January, Erdan announced plans to promote a reform by which cannabis users would not face criminal prosecution, but would instead be required to pay a fine of around NIS 1,000, though the changes have yet to be implemented.

Israel is one of the world’s leading proponents of the use of medical marijuana; with many convinced that the use of the substance to treat various conditions, such as some cancers, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, autism and others is sanctioned under Jewish law. Clinical trials have yet to be conducted, with opponents of the use of medicinal hemp concerned about the long-term safety, quality control and correct dosage for specific medical conditions.