A promise of marijuana in the future in exchange for campaign donations today helped the Aleh Yarok (“Green Leaf”) party net more than NIS 100,000 in donations this week.
The campaign, launched in a YouTube video on Saturday, promises donors who front it campaign donations that they will receive marijuana if and when the day comes that the plant is legalized in Israel.
On Monday morning, the party opened a Headstart Web fund-raising campaign with a range of options for donors. The Web page includes a sliding scale of theoretical marijuana in exchange for contributions. At the lowest end, an NIS 50 donation entitles the donor to a savings bond redeemable for a single gram of marijuana once it’s legalized. The bond, which features a marijuana flower on it, costs significantly less than the street value of a gram of marijuana in Israel (NIS 80-100), and by Wednesday the 56 spots available for that donation had all been purchased.
The party seemed to get a bit creative when creating the sliding scale of donations. For NIS 420 (a reference to slang popular with marijuana consumers) donors are eligible to receive 5 grams of marijuana, plus an Aleh Yarok T-shirt and a collectible lighter. Those who donate NIS 10,000 will get help to “open a coffeeshop,” if and when marijuana is legalized and Israel becomes home to Netherlands-style coffeeshops. So far the party has received one donation at the coffeeshop level, which includes a gift of 150 grams of marijuana, as well as 20 at the NIS 420 level.
By Wednesday evening, the bumper crop of donations stood at NIS 115,285, and the party announced on Facebook that it is now shooting for NIS 300,000 to fund a nationwide billboard campaign.
In the campaign video posted on Saturday, Aleh Yarok party head Oren Leibovitz touts marijuana advocates’ success in recent years at, in his words, making marijuana legalization and consumption more acceptable and mainstream in Israel.
“We’ve done all of this with no budget, imagine what we could do with a party budget and five parliamentarians? We are a half a million cannabis smokers in Israel; it’s enough that only a quarter of us vote Aleh Yarok and change will be here,” he says in the video.
In late December the party announced that Leibovitz, the founder of the online magazine Cannabis.com, had been elected chairman.
The Green Leaf party has run in five previous elections and failed to make it into the Knesset, and the legislature’s decision in March to raise the threshold from 2 percent to 3.25 percent will only make it more difficult this time around.
Still, with the promise of free marijuana, even if it’s only theoretical, its chances of finally blazing its way into the Knesset may be looking less hazy.