Thousands Demonstrate in Tel Aviv to Decriminalize Marijuana in Israel

Protest follows announcement by police minister in favor of legalization, but decision must be approved by government.

Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat
'Legalization 2018': Israelis demonstrate for legalization of marijuana in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, February 4, 2017.
'Legalization 2018': Israelis demonstrate for legalization of marijuana in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, February 4, 2017.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Zafrir Rinat
Zafrir Rinat

Chanting “the people demand legal cannabis,” thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday to call on the government to fully legalize marijuana in Israel.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Thursday that he supports the decriminalization of marijuana for private, recreational use. The minister said he is adopting the conclusions of a panel he tasked with reviewing the matter, which recommended shifting from criminal prosecution to fines and educational campaigns. The recommendations must still be approved by the government.

The protest, which took place at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, was organized by pro-legalization groups and Israel’s national student union. Prominent Israeli musicians, including hip-hop group Hadag Nahash and Mediterranean singer Shimi Tavori, performed at the event and told the crowd about their encounters with police over suspected cannabis use.

Israelis demonstrate for legalization of marijuana in Tel Aviv, February 4, 2017.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
A demonstrator holds a gigantic mock joint, at a protest in Tel Aviv calling for legalization of marijuana. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Lawmakers from the government and the opposition also attended, among them, Likud MK Sharren Haskel and Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg. Speakers called on Erdan to change the law so that consumption of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense. They also demanded the erasure of criminal records of those already convicted of marijuana-related offenses.

Many also urged the government to regulate the cannabis market, saying that failure to do so would compel Israelis to continue to pay high prices to criminal entities.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

$1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

Rep. Henry Cuellar attends a campaign event on Wednesday, in San Antonio, Texas.

AIPAC-backed Dem Declares Victory Against Progressive Challenger in Texas Runoff

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Mohammad Eslami at an event for Nuclear Technology Day in Tehran, last month.

Prospects for Reviving Iran Nuclear Deal 'Tenuous' at Best, U.S. Envoy Says

A family grieves outside the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday.

Israeli PM Offers Condolences After Texas Gunman Kills 21 at Elementary School

U.S. President Joe Biden, this week.

Biden Decides to Keep Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Terror List, Says Report

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Progressive Jews Urge ADL Chief to Apologize for Calling Out Democratic Activist

Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders with Jessica Cisneros in San Antonio last week.

It’s AIPAC vs. Bernie Sanders in Too-close-to-call Texas Democratic Runoff