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The right way to legalize cannabis

Likud MK-to-be Moshe Feiglin, better know for his ultra-nationalistic politics, looking to make marijuana kosher

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of a marijuana bud (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of a marijuana bud (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

A newly elected politician better known for his hawkish outlook on national issues and settlements, has set his goals high with a plan to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

In an interview with Maariv Wednesday, controversial Likud party member Moshe Feiglin, who will soon take a seat in the Knesset for the first time, said he intends to push for new legislation that will bring medical and even private use of cannabis onto the right side of the law.

“I will do everything in my power through legislation to legalize cannabis and to ease its use for medical purposes,” Feiglin said. “But also to permit personal use of cannabis by adults.”

Feiglin, who was elected from the 23rd spot on the joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu slate, suggested establishing a regulatory body to control the release of the substance, which is completely forbidden for non-nedical use under current laws. The body would control the amount a person could access for recreational and medical reasons, he explained.

The outspoken Feiglin, whom Likud reportedly told to keep his views to himself in the run-up to the elections, lest they drive away potential voters, asserted that cannabis is less dangerous than smoking or alcohol.

“In my opinion there is no reason to include it with light or hard drugs and to completely ban its use,” he said, and argued that a ban curtails freedom, increases black-market trade in drugs, and causes great suffering to those who could benefit from its use for medical reasons.

“Today the state has forced over half a million good and faithful citizens to become criminals against their will, making them live in fear of the knock at the door and incrimination,” he continued.

Moshe Feiglin (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Moshe Feiglin (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

The new Knesset member, who will be sworn in next week, is better known for his uncompromising support for the settlement movement and his habit of entering the Temple Mount compound. Feiglin has also expressed his support for soldiers who refuse orders to evacuate settlements and suggested paying the Palestinian population of the West Bank to emigrate.

Feilglin explained that only those of an appropriate age will be permitted to buy the drug, and only after receiving instructions on its use.

“The law that I am suggesting will be for sale only to those over the age of 21 and after specific instructions are given to those who buy so that they are fully aware of the significance of its use — when it is permitted and when it is forbidden,” he said.

Feiglin also intends to work on legislation to tighten current traffic laws, such as running a red light. He explained that he turned his focus on improving road safety after his nephew was seriously injured in a traffic accident.

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