Amir Ohana
Amir Ohana צילום: לנה וולק/TPS

The Supreme Court on Wednesday received the position of the State and Public Security Minister Amir Ohana on the request to reduce penalties for citizens accused of using illegal drugs such as marijuana.

For the first time, the government's official position signals a change in policy.

The State response states that "the position of the Public Security Minister is that the Temporary Order should be reconsidered in order to minimize any harm to normative citizens attributed to cannabis drug-related offenses."

"The Public Security Minister intends to appoint a team that will consider the possibility of recommending a lenient policy in the spirit of these things," the reply stated.

Three months ago, while he served as Justice Minister, Ohana issued a public appeal calling on cannabis users to submit requests for the deletion of their criminal records for personal use and possession.

"The normal course of life of too many civilians was violated. Not because of cannabis - but because of the criminal enforcement of its consumption. They took citizens who are usually law-abiding, and turned them into offenders - not because they hurt another person, but that they allegedly hurt themselves," Ohana said.

He said, "I saw this injury up close as a criminal defense lawyer. I saw too many young people whose lives were trampled under state-imposed enforcement wheels, whose liberty was rudely denied. The state has invested a lot of energy in justices, judges, typists, probation officers and more - to deal with a crime without a victim. This, of course, is at the expense of many crimes that actually have painful and suffering victims - because the bargain is always short and everything is a matter of priorities."

"It's time to change course," the minister declared. "Therefore, we, the Prime Minister and the Likud Movement, announced two actions: the first - the establishment of a committee that would outline an appropriate legislative path for regulating the legal use of cannabis based on the Canadian model. The second - rectifying past injustices."

"I hereby announce that I will recommend to the President that he approve all requests for amnesty and deletion of the criminal record for personal use and possession of cannabis. Do not make it a headache - it works. All such cases which will come to my desk, I will act on as I promised," Ohana concluded.