Photo: Index Open

Tel Aviv forbids marijuana legalization rally

After previous rally ends in 14 arrests, organizers of demonstration calling on state to legalize pot may move to Jerusalem or Netanya. 'We live in a democratic country and we have the right to protest,' one of them says

In addition to the ongoing Marijuana shortage and subsequent price hike, Israel's pot smokers are having difficulty organizing a rally in support of legalizing the drug.


On Sunday the demonstration's organizer, Liora Gelber received a notice from Tel Aviv Municipality official Ruby Zelof reading, "I hereby inform you that your request to hold a rally for the legalization of cannabis has been rejected."


The organizers planned to hold the rally at Rabin Square on July 15, about a month-and-a-half after a similar demonstration held at the site without a permit ended in the arrest of 14 people for disturbing the peace.


"The police did not give us any trouble, but the municipality said it would cost us NIS 16,600 (about $4,300) to hold the rally at Rabin Square," said Gelber. "We began to raise the money, and various artists confirmed their participation. The notice we received today infuriated us. The municipality did not even give us a reason for why it is not authorizing the rally.


"We live in a democratic country and we have the right to protest," she said.


Gelber is considering holding the rally in Netanya or Jerusalem. She said demonstrators will be urged not to bring smoking apparatus to the event.


The previous rally was dispersed after a demonstrator began smoking marijuana.


"There are tens of thousands of us, but many are afraid to attend the rally. Our Facebook group alone has 5,000 subscribers. Research has shown that cannabis is not addictive and does not affect our driving. Everyone purchases it regardless of whether it's legal or not," said Gelber.


"All of this money goes to Lebanon and Egypt and funds terror. We buy it anyway, so it should be sold legally in shops – and people would also pay a tax."


The Tel Aviv Municipality has yet to respond.


Initial information received via red email.


פרסום ראשון: 06.27.10, 16:20
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