13 December 2016
The Jerusalem Post reports….
The Israel Antidrug Authority surprised the Knesset’s Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse on Monday by saying it “favors and adopts the Portugal model” decriminalizing the use of marijuana and allocating funds to treat drug addiction.
The position was initially presented before an internal committee of the Public Security Ministry. On Monday, the chairman of the Knesset’s special committee, Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, expressed support. “Israel is advancing toward a new era, and it seems that legalization of marijuana is just a matter of time,” she said.
The Health Ministry has liberalized the use of medical marijuana for patients suffering from pain, those with a lack of appetite due to serious illness and others, but Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman has said several times that he would oppose the legalization of cannabis for all residents.
Eitan Gorney, chairman of the Anti-Drug Authority, said, “We believe that, as a result of developments in the world, the main problem of using cannabis is social and medical, while the criminal matter is only tangential. We have pulled the edges in this discussion and put it in the center. I want you to know our position [on the Portugal model] as we presented it to the Public Security Ministry.”
Yossi Fisch, chief scientist of the Anti-Drug Authority, said that he had received the model from his counterparts in the Portugal Drug Authority and that “we learned a lot from this model and their principles.
We think it’s worthwhile to adopt it here.
Portugal is a country with 10.5 million people that suffered in the 1970s from a severe rash of drug abuse. It then developed this model as a national strategy. Marijuana use was recognized as a health problem rather than a criminal one.”