When it comes to growing marijuana in Israel, there is the need to distinguish between those growing for commercial purposes or for personal use. The police have been given orders that would ease the sanctions that have been leveled against the home marijuana growers over the years.
The order was issued by the police prosecution department after receiving several complaints from the public. According to the order, those growing marijuana in small quantities for their personal use will be treated with minor violation. Those growing in larger quantities would face the serious consequences according to the law. The large quantities would mean that the user did not intend for personal use. Having a single plant cannot subject someone to the same punishment as one with a large garden growing marijuana.
The aim of the order is to clarify the position of the police when it comes to enforcement of the marijuana laws. The police would now focus more on prosecuting the distributors and dealer rather than dealing with consumers. This is a dramatic change of events which would mean relief for the consumers too. Well, the order was not supposed to leak, but somehow its first page was published by the online magazine Cannabis.
Growing marijuana is a grave offense
May be some of the residents do not know how much of an offense they would be making when growing marijuana in their gardens. In Israel, growing marijuana is considered as a grave offense, especially when marijuana has been defined as a dangerous drug. According to the law, a person shall not grow the dangerous drug, produce it, manufacturer it, or distribute it. The law further prohibits the create marijuana in a different form unless permitted under license. There can be a bit of confusion where the commercial quantities and personal small quantities are not defined. The country has to wait for the refinement of the laws to shield some people from more fines and possible jail time.
If you are charged with an offense of growing marijuana, the maximum sentence you could get is 20 years in prison. This is the same as manslaughter for just growing weed. When compared to other offenses such as rape, it is even worse as rape attracts a jail term of 16 years. When you are found with the offense of personal use, you could end up in prison for 3 years. With the new changes, we could see those found with marijuana for personal use get off easy with a fine rather than jail time.
Increase in home marijuana growers
According to the police reports, there has been an increase in the number of people who grow marijuana at home for personal use. The police claim that when they make arrests, it is easy to see the marijuana in pots on their porch just like the flowers. These growers do not even have sophisticated tools and just grow it in the open. Depending on the type of marijuana, sometimes it can have a pungent smell. The smell can irritate the neighbors for having marijuana growing in their area.
It is not just for personal use anymore as more people are also growing it for commercial purposes too. They have no license, which makes it an offense. For such growers, they always have a plan for making the most out of their investment. They would have specialty items for growing marijuana in their homes. This can include irrigation equipment, special lamps and many others. You could get some growers who have rented houses or apartments solely for growing marijuana.
The new criteria
According to the new order, it would not be business as usual. The police would have to look at several factors to determine the category of the offender. You can expect the attributes they will be considered would be the number of marijuana plants, the planning involved, any relevant criminal record of the suspect, and the quantity of drug produced. If someone has more plants, it is easy to tag them for commercial purposes. There is no way a person would smoke over 20 plants. Some would take it further by purchasing special tools for growing marijuana. This would show that such a person is growing it for commercial use.
On average, about 20,000 drug cases would be filed each year in Israel. Among them, there would be the cases of those growing the dangerous drugs, trading, and possession not for personal consumption. The cases have been increasing over the year from as low as 6,826 in 2013.
As much as some people have been celebrating already, the police has responded to the publication by saying that there is no change in the police policy on the marijuana growing laws. We can wait and see if they will come out to suggest otherwise.