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Holy Smokes! Israel takes step toward marijuana reforms

Posted at 12:44 PM, Mar 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-05 12:44:32-05

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Holy smokes! The Israeli government has taken a step toward decriminalizing marijuana use.

Israeli media say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet has approved a measure that would reduce penalties for possession of marijuana. If caught, smokers would pay a fine, instead of facing criminal charges.

Netanyahu said ahead of Sunday's meeting that a "new enforcement policy" should be drawn up "cautiously and in a controlled manner."

The decision does not mean that Jerusalem will now have Amsterdam-style coffee shops. The Haaretz daily said a committee would study ways to regulate the use of pot.

Opposition lawmaker Tamar Zandberg told Haaretz "this is an important step, but not the end of the road. It sends a message that a million of Israelis who consume marijuana aren't criminals."

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