Outgoing Israeli Police Chief Takes Surprising Stance on Cannabis
May 14th, 2015
Policy, Top News
Israel’s outgoing Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino urged police to reconsider their position on marijuana and support legalization in “one way or another” when speaking to high school students in Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem.
“I think it’s time the police and state reexamined their traditional attitude,” said Mr. Danino to the audience, according to a report in Haaretz. “More and more people demand the legalization of the use of cannabis in one way or another.”
There are approximately 20,000 Israelis with permits to use medical cannabis, but 22,895 cases were opened for drug possession in 2012 alone. In 2013, the figure grew to 23,376 cases for personal use, including some against celebrities like actors Yehuda Levi and Keren Mor, intended to garner media attention.
“I issued instructions not to deal with light drugs for personal use,” added Mr. Danino. “It doesn’t pay off, either on the level of the individual or because of wasting enforcement resources.”
While encouraging police to be less harsh on small offenses, he cautioned that some overseas markets (like the U.S., presumably) make it too easy to pay money and receive a prescription for medical marijuana. The Amsterdam commissioner also told the police chief that the region went too far and is seeking a middle ground.
Mr. Danino encouraged the police to sit down with ministries and other bodies and study the issue in order to determine what would work best. With the public’s perception of the drug changing worldwide, and medical uses being confirmed, many other countries should follow this lead to liberalize their policies.
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