Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Holy Smokes! Israel takes step toward marijuana reforms

Published:Sunday | March 5, 2017 | 3:36 PM
In this Nov. 1, 2012 file photo, an Israeli woman works at Tikkun Olam medical cannabis farm, near the northern Israeli city of Safed, Israel.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Holy smokes! The Israeli government has taken a step toward decriminalising marijuana use.

Israeli media say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet has approved a measure that would reduce penalties for possession of marijuana. If caught, smokers would pay a fine, instead of facing criminal charges.

Netanyahu said ahead of Sunday's meeting that a "new enforcement policy" should be drawn up "cautiously and in a controlled manner."

The decision does not mean that Jerusalem will now have Amsterdam-style coffee shops. The Haaretz daily said a committee would study ways to regulate the use of pot.

Opposition lawmaker Tamar Zandberg told Haaretz "this is an important step, but not the end of the road. It sends a message that a million of Israelis who consume marijuana aren't criminals."