"There is no reason that half a million citizens should have criminal records opened against them."
By OREN KLASS
If you enjoy smoking the casual joint now and then, or grow your own marijuana plant in the comfort of your own home, but are afraid of winding up with a criminal record, then good news may be on the way for you.
According to a new bill tabled by Democratic Choice Party MK Roman Bronfman, any amount of marijuana less than 50 grams would be considered legal for personal consumption. The present law stipulates that any amount less than 15 grams is permissible.
"The policy of absolute prohibition in Israel has failed," said Bronfman. "The amount of smokers rises from year to year, and the Anti-Drug Authority has lost the public's trust because of the inaccurate message they send that hard drugs are equal to "soft" drugs."
Bronfman bases his law on medical findings from both a 1999 report ordered by the French Health Ministry, along with a World Health Organization report from 1998, which concluded that marijuana use is less detrimental to a person's health compared to legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. The findings showed, however, that exclusive marijuana use on a daily basis for a number of years was equally dangerous.
A Bronfman spokesman told The Post "that the purpose of the law was to promote a policy of de-criminalization that would allow police to focus resources on the larger drug dealers and the more dangerous drugs, and not on "normative" citizens that occasionally smoke. There is no reason that half a million citizens should have criminal records opened against them."
But for those who dream of Amsterdam in Israel, keep dreaming. Bronfman's spokesman emphasized that importing the drug into Israel would still be illegal, and that no marijuana would be sold over the counter at the local coffee shop any time soon.