‘Time to distinguish between hard and soft drugs’

Justice Ministry official: Attorney-general has told state prosecutors to operate on the basis of such a distinction.

By
August 3, 2011 04:01
2 minute read.
Marijuana

Marijuana 311 (R). (photo credit: Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

 
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The time has come to distinguish between the use of hard and soft drugs, Justice Ministry official Drora Nehamni told the Knesset Committee on Drug Use Tuesday.

Nehamni added that the attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, had instructed state prosecutors to operate along the basis of such a distinction.

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At present, the law makes no distinction between the use of drugs such as heroin and cannabis – although it does differentiate between possession of drugs for self-use and intention to sell to others.

Addressing the committee, Public Security Minister Director Yaakov Ganot said far too many criminal cases were being opened over the use of soft drugs. He added, “We can say unequivocally that there is a leakage of medical cannabis to unlicensed users.”

The Knesset Committee also decided on Tuesday to set up a new body that will examine the use of light drugs.

“The number of criminal cases opened over usage of soft drugs is simply a waste of resources,” Committee Chairman Knesset Member Talab El-Sana (Ra’am Ta’al) said. “If the relevant state authorities would stop treating all addicts and users of light drugs as criminals, we could efficiently minimize the number of users, while providing them with rehabilitation facilities.”

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El-Sana said Israel should invest “most of its resources and energies towards the war against organized crime and heavy dealers, and not focus on those who take drugs for self-use.”

Members of the committee were presented with a study prepared by the Knesset’s Research and Information Center, which noted that the UN had recently called for members states to stop criminalizing people who used drugs but who did not harm others, and which called for legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime.

The UN panel added that regulating drugs rather than allowing criminal elements to monopolize the drug trade would also safeguard the health of users.

“These recommendations are in contrast to the traditional policy of Israel in the field of drugs,” the study said.

It added that according to the last poll carried out on the subject, 11.42 percent of the adult population used illegal psycho-active drugs. The figure among teenagers was slightly lower at 10.66%.

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