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The Israeli elections can determine the future of cannabis

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The future of Israeli cannabis regulation is tied to today's elections.

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Jerusalem, Israel – The atmosphere inside the Israeli Knesset is hectic as the countdown for the results of the parliamentary elections proceeds. While the Labor Party puts itself on the issue of legalization, Moshe Feiglin of the Zehut party ("identity") claims to support the legalization of cannabis for adult use, while Benjamin Netanyahu of the extreme right-wing Likud party remains the mother on the issue.

Feiglin's autobiographical manifesto "To be a Free Jew" is flying off the shelves. According to the Times of Israel, "Feiglin, a radical right activist who, apart from a brief period as a member of Likud Knesset (2013-15), has languished on the margins of Israeli politics for over two decades."

The self-styled "ultra-nationalist" has finally broken through the mainstream, punching rival candidate Benjamin Netanyahu with the same rhetoric as the extreme right; including the annexation of the West Bank and denying the Palestinians the right of return, with the unexpected blow of being actively in favor of the legalization of cannabis.

His election promise of legalizing cannabis specifically snatched his party and he from perpetual darkness and brought him into the spotlight as a serious competitor to the prime minister. A pair of months ago his promises seemed unlikely. However, with the announcement of the decriminalization of marijuana on 1 April, suddenly full legalization seems less like an impossible and more easily accessible dream if your party wins seats in the 21st Knesset.

While "Bibi", as the current prime minister is affectionately known, announced his plans for the annexation of the West Bank to the eleventh hour before the elections, most likely to weaken his opponent Feiglin, he did not try to wrest his pro-cannabis supporters by promising legalization (the way Andrew Cuomo gutted Cynthia Nixon's campaign for Governor of New York).

According to Laura Kam of Kam Global Strategies, about two million Israelis use cannabis outside the borders of the medical marijuana program.

With the pro-marijuana party Green Leaf who opted for Israel's general election for the first time in two decades, advocates of legalization have gradually galvanized their support for Feiglin's nationalist and libertarian identity, which made him shrewdly legalize marijuana as a focal point of his campaign.

Perhaps instead of making a last ditch attempt to appeal even more to his far-right fans, Bibi would have to appeal to Israeli smokers, especially considering that his own son falls into that group.

"Even if the so-called libertarian" pro-pot "entered the parliament, it would make no difference in advancing any pro-cannabis policy / legislation: the fact that former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert are now involved with Israeli cannabis companies will probably have more impact on the legislation, as both are still very well connected, "explains Gal Wilder, a communications consultant with Cohn & Wolfe.

The polls close in two and a half hours. The world will soon know if the legalization of cannabis in Israel is on the horizon or is still just an impossible dream.

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The future of Israeli cannabis regulation is tied to today's elections.

Getty

Jerusalem, Israel – The atmosphere inside the Israeli Knesset is hectic as the countdown for the results of the parliamentary elections proceeds. While the Labor Party puts itself on the issue of legalization, Moshe Feiglin of the Zehut party ("identity") claims to support the legalization of cannabis for adult use, while Benjamin Netanyahu of the extreme right-wing Likud party remains the mother on the issue.

Feiglin's autobiographical manifesto "To be a Free Jew" is flying off the shelves. According to the Times of Israel, "Feiglin, a radical right activist who, apart from a brief period as a member of Likud Knesset (2013-15), has languished on the margins of Israeli politics for over two decades."

The self-styled "ultra-nationalist" has finally broken through the mainstream, punching rival candidate Benjamin Netanyahu with the same rhetoric as the extreme right; including the annexation of the West Bank and denying the Palestinians the right of return, with the unexpected blow of being actively in favor of the legalization of cannabis.

His election promise of legalizing cannabis specifically snatched his party and he from perpetual darkness and brought him into the spotlight as a serious competitor to the prime minister. A pair of months ago his promises seemed unlikely. However, with the announcement of the decriminalization of marijuana on 1 April, suddenly full legalization seems less like an impossible and more easily accessible dream if your party wins seats in the 21st Knesset.

While "Bibi", as the current prime minister is affectionately known, announced his plans for the annexation of the West Bank to the eleventh hour before the elections, most likely to weaken his opponent Feiglin, he did not try to wrest his pro-cannabis supporters by promising legalization (the way Andrew Cuomo gutted Cynthia Nixon's campaign for Governor of New York).

According to Laura Kam of Kam Global Strategies, about two million Israelis use cannabis outside the borders of the medical marijuana program.

With the pro-marijuana party Green Leaf who opted for Israel's general election for the first time in two decades, advocates of legalization have gradually galvanized their support for Feiglin's nationalist and libertarian identity, which made him wisely legalize marijuana as a focal point of his campaign.

Perhaps instead of making a last ditch attempt to appeal even more to his far-right fans, Bibi would have to appeal to Israeli smokers, especially considering that his own son falls into that group.

"Even if the so-called libertarian" pro-pot "entered the parliament, it would make no difference in advancing any pro-cannabis policy / legislation: the fact that former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert are now involved with Israeli cannabis companies will probably have more impact on the legislation, as both are still very well connected, "explains Gal Wilder, a communications consultant with Cohn & Wolfe.

The polls close in two and a half hours. The world will soon know if the legalization of cannabis in Israel is on the horizon or is still just an impossible dream.

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