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Israel Should Not Decriminalize Marijuana Use

| by Mark Jones

The legalization of marijuana is a bad idea, no matter where you are from.

While marijuana is not as harmful as some other drugs, it can still do damage to those who use it. Therefore, it is important that government officials in Israel -- a country where, like many others, the attitude toward recreational marijuana use is becoming more relaxed -- take steps to ensure that marijuana never becomes legal in their country.

On March 5, Israel's cabinet approved a piece of legislation that would relax the laws against recreational marijuana use, reports The New York Times. Under the current law, those caught using marijuana recreationally are subject to criminal charges, including incarceration. If the proposed plan were to be made into law, those who are caught using the drug illegally would only be subjected to minor fines. While this particular plan does not make recreational marijuana use legal, it is unfortunately a step toward legalization.

Despite the plan being approved by the Israeli cabinet, however, it would still need the approval of the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, to become law. It is imperative that the Knesset strike down this plan in order to ensure the well-being of their country's citizens. Nothing good can come from recreational marijuana use, and it is therefore imperative that the laws against it are not relaxed in any way.

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One major way in which marijuana is harmful, and why it should not be approved for recreational use in Israel, is in its effects on the lungs and heart. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use can result in a number of lung problems, including daily coughing, frequent lung illnesses, and a higher risk of lung infections.

Marijuana also increases a user's heart rate, making it more likely that the user will suffer a heart attack. By keeping the current laws against recreational use in place, Israel's governmental leaders would greatly discourage the use of this drug. In doing so, they would be saving citizens of their country from doing completely avoidable damage to their heart and lungs. 

Another reason why marijuana should remain illegal in Israel is because of its impact on mental health. Recent studies suggest that marijuana use may be linked to an increased risk for several mental illnesses, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports. Such conditions include schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders.

It is true that the results of many such studies are inconclusive at this time, and more research is required to undeniably confirm the link between marijuana use and mental health. But why take a risk? If there is the slightest chance that marijuana is a threat to individuals' mental health, governments should be actively taking steps to restrict its use. 

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Marijuana is a terrible drug. Not only can it cause bodily harm to individuals, it can also impact them mentally in an extremely negative way. Therefore, when the Knesset in Israel is called to vote upon the plan for relaxing the laws against recreational marijuana use, its members should not hesitate to strike it down. 

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: The New York Times, NIH (2) / Photo credit: Carlos Garcia/Flickr

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