Israel plans to decriminalize cannabis use, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on 26 January. He said that if the government approves his new policy, those caught smoking cannabis would be punished by a fine rather than arrested and prosecuted. Criminal procedures would be launched only against those caught repeatedly.
“Police will be able to redirect resources … away from normative personal users and focus instead on dangerous drugs,” Erdan told a news conference in Tel Aviv. According to data presented to parliament by the Internal Security Ministry in December, enforcement against cannabis users has dropped by 30 percent since 2010. Figures presented to the Justice Ministry showed only 188 people were arrested in 2015 for smoking cannabis, a 56 percent drop since 2010. Thus, recreational cannabis use seemed to decrease despite increase of accepted medical use in Israel, where more than 20,000 patients allowed to use cannabis.