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Pro-marijuana legalization party to sit out elections

Green Leaf says decision not to run will force other parties to champion legalization in order to pick up its voters’ support

Cannabis plant. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Cannabis plant. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

The pro-marijuana legalization Green Leaf party announced Wednesday it will sit out upcoming national elections in April.

The announcement marked the first time in 20 years the party will not field a list of candidates for the Knesset.

While recent polls have put Green Leaf well below the 3.25 percent minimum threshold of votes needed to enter the Knesset, the party portrayed the decision as a strategic one that would boost its influence.

“When we don’t run, 50,000 supporters that are the minimum support base of the party will go out to the ‘political voting market,’ and the rest of the parties will need to compete for their votes and support promoting the issue [of legalization], making it easier for us to influence other parties,” it said in a statement.

Members of the minor right-wing Zehut party have voiced their support for marijuana legalization, as have lawmakers from the Likud and Meretz parties.

A ballot being counted for the pro-marijuana Green Leaf party, which did not cross the electoral threshold, on March 18, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Established in 1992, the party’s platform is based on (and most well-known for) the legalization of the cannabis plant, but also calls for the expansion of human rights, free market economics and the institutionalization of prostitution and gambling.

The party has never managed to garner sufficient support to enter the Knesset, though it has performed significantly better among soldiers than the general public in past elections.

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