CBSN

Israel moves towards decriminalizing marijuana

JERUSALEM - Holy smokes! The Israeli government has taken a step toward decriminalizing 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.

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A worker tends to cannabis plants at a plantation near the northern Israeli city of Safed June 11, 2012. It is here, at a medical marijuana plantation atop the hills of the Galilee, where researchers say they have developed marijuana that can be used to ease the symptoms of some ailments without getting patients high. 

REUTERS

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.”