Israel has had legal medical marijuana for decades now and some of the most prominent research came out of this small country. With an estimated 25,000 medical marijuana patients in Israel, they finally moved forward with full on decriminalization of the plant.
What this means for cannabis consumers in Israel is that if they are caught smoking weed in public, they will be subjected to a fine roughly equating $250. These are for first time offenders. If you’re caught again with weed, you’ll get a fine of about $500. A third offense would most likely land you in rehab and a fourth offense could land you in jail.
Although this is an advance in terms of treating non-violent citizens not like criminals for using a substance, it still isn’t ideal.
Israel Joins the Party
Israel isn’t the first country to decriminalize cannabis use. In fact, countries like Mexico, Portugal, Costa Rica and many others have already decriminalized cannabis over the years. Israel joining up in this global shift in perception of the substance is a signal worth noting that the world as whole is ready to put drug prohibition to rest.
Let’s be clear about something, the decriminalization of cannabis is only the beginning. You see, cannabis is the catalyst to ending the drug war on a global scale. Weed is the most consumed illicit drug on the planet and the vast majority of the drug war budget is spent on stopping people from smoking weed.
Once cannabis is legalized, drug war funds would be shifted to other drugs. However, people will soon realize that prohibition isn’t the way at all. Instead of spending billions on fighting drugs, it could rather be used to educate people on proper drug use, rehabilitation and treatment centers and ensuring that the purity of drugs consumed are regulated.
Portugal decriminalized all drug use and focused on treatment and prevention and saw a great decline in overdoses, aids, crime and the age of the average addict is getting higher. This means that fewer kids are consuming drugs. They are saving money and actually curbing addiction rates in their country. This is just by decriminalizing, when you legalize, you actually create a revenue stream that could treat addiction at a much more effective rate.
Israel Preparing for the Global Market
This year, Canada will be legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. This will be the first “First world nation” to do so. Throughout the next two years, they will be creating the legal framework for the cannabis industry and will begin to produce products, medicines and much more. In addition, they will be opening up their borders to international cannabis trade.
Israel can see this shift occurring and one of the reasons they are moving forward to a more tolerant cannabis policy is due to the potential lucrative benefits of the global marijuana trade.
Over the next few years you will begin to see more countries jump on the “canna-train” to partake of the substantial amount of revenue that will be generated by the legal industry.
There’s already talks between Jamaica and Canada in terms of import/export of cannabis. When more countries like Israel jumps into the international trade, we’ll start seeing more countries line up to get their slice of the pie.
Countries like Jamaica, Uruguay will benefit from the legal trade due to their low-cost for production due to cheap labor, while countries like Israel and Canada would be focusing on developing and producing products. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Cannabis is not a crime!
The final message we can take from Israel’s move towards decriminalization is that they no longer believe that it is a crime to smoke marijuana. This is a major shift!
To assert that individuals have a right to alter their own consciousness is a step in the right direction. I actually wrote an entire piece on your “Natural Right to Smoke Weed” if you’re interested in exploring this topic further.
Nonetheless, the decision Israel made to decriminalize cannabis as a whole will have repercussions in the US. Why?
Because Conservatives look up to Israel. This stems from their Judeo-Christian beliefs that Israel is the “chosen people of God” and is one of the motivations why the US remains allies with Israel. That, and of course the fact that Israel is a military strong hold in the Middle East for the US (but we won’t jump into that here).
The point being, if Israel decriminalized cannabis, then it would be much easier to convince conservatives that it’s okay to do the same. Obviously, this won’t happen overnight, however it is a strong argument to help sway ultra-conservatives who firmly believes in Israel as a national ally. “If they are doing it, why aren’t we”. After all, they are “God’s Chosen” and must be doing something right…right?
The Future is Green
We’ve seen great strides occur in terms of cannabis tolerance on a societal level over the past few decades. The institution of prohibition is crumbling as more people are becoming aware that a 80 year old failed policy is actually quite destructive and a colossal waste of money.
I don’t know when cannabis will be legal worldwide, but I can definitely assert that it will be legalized and once it is legal. We’ll see a major shift occur in terms of drugs as a whole all over the world.
So thank you Israel for having the balls to say that “Cannabis is not a crime”. We appreciate it.