Israel’s Police Chief Studies Legalizing Medical Marijuana

medical marijuana in Israel

Israel’s top law enforcement officer says it’s time for the government and police to reexamine their policies on the use of cannabis in light of how other countries are dealing with the matter. In a recent article, Israel Police Chief Insp.-Gen.  Yohanan Danino said he has decided to establish a professional committee to investigate the cannabis policies of other western nations and look into the ramifications of making medical marijuana use legal in Israel.

“What will eventually happen here is that anyone with money will be able to get a permit [for medical marijuana], and anyone who doesn’t have money will be trying to get [cannabis] on the streets,” Danino told Israel Hayom. “Things are happening in the world, so we can’t stick our heads in the sand. We need to deal with this issue.”

Danino said that four years ago, some 400 Israelis had secured medical marijuana permits, “but in no time, there are 20,000 permits today.”

“Throughout the world, this has been a method of making [cannabis] legal,” he said. “In California you can walk around in plenty of places and see signs offering a fake permit for medical marijuana for $50. We in Israel don’t want that. Because if we really want to change the law and decriminalize [cannabis] use, or make some drugs legal, let’s do it properly.”

According to a Jerusalem Post article, police figures show that in 2013 alone, 23,312 Israelis were arrested for drug charges related to personal use – possession that was not for sale. This is nearly 300 more than the 23,053 arrested in 2012.


Stephen Bradley is the editor of Cannablog, a website focused on providing access to news and information about medical and recreational cannabis. Stephen is also a former police supervisor-turned marijuana activist, owner of the Weedbiz™ Network and a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).