marijuanaIsrael on Thursday moved closer to decriminalizing marijuana use after its public security minister declared his support for a policy emphasizing education and fines over criminal penalties.

The new policy “does not entirely do away with the component of enforcing the criminal code,” said Gilad Erdan at a press conference, but instead puts “education, public information and treatment” first.

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According to the new measure, which must still pass in the cabinet, charges would be considered only after the third offence.

The panel behind the policy recommended a fine of 1,000 shekels (265 dollars) for the first offence and one of double that amount for the second offence, the Haaretz newspaper reported.

The third offence would require police to close the case with conditional arrangements, such as losing one’s driver’s licence.

The Israeli government has recently pushed initiatives aimed at taking advantage of the fast-growing medical marijuana industry as countries such as the US relax their laws regarding the drug.

DPA