The new cannabis decriminalization policy, which treats cannabis use as a misdemeanor, has now come into effect one month after it was approved in the Israeli legislature.
While full legalization still remains off the table, the new reform in is a vital step towards moving cannabis enforcement away from the hands of the police and into the hands of civil authorities.
Police note that "even under the new enforcement policy, cannabis use will stay illegal in the public sector," emphasizing that people should still refrain from using cannabis, especially in public spaces, and that holding more than 15 grams is sill illegal.
A policeman who catches an adult carrying less than 15 grams of cannabis will have to decide whether it is for self use or distibution, a conclusion which will be determined according to how it is packaged, the circumstances in which the suspect was apprehended and his behavior.
In the event that it is determined that the suspect is in possession of the drug for personal consumption, his or her criminal past will be checked. If not drug crimes are found on the individual's record and it is a first cannabis-related violation, the person will be fined NIS 1,000 and be obliged to admit to self-use. However, he will be able to appeal the court against the fine and will be given 60 days to pay it.
A second-time cannabis-related violation will incur a fine of NIS 2,000. In both the first and second cases the person caught will not be criminally investigated.
A third-time offender will be will be investigated for drug violations. While the case could still be dropped for lack of public interest, the violation will be registered on the person's criminal record.
On the fourth time, the offender will be immediately indicted. A person who refuses to pay the fine could be jailed for up to one year.
(Translated & edited by Lior Mor)