Israeli Pot Smokers Say They Are Persecuted, Demand Investigation

“Investigate the disproportionate investment of resources in going after marijuana consumers,” asked dozens of Israelis of State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on Sunday in a letter.

The letter, which bore dozens of signatures, starts off with a personal appeal. “I am 32-years-old, a combat officer in reserves, a manager on a government network, hold a Bachelors Degree with honors from Hebrew University. In short, I am a normative person and a contributing and tax-paying citizen. Unfortunately, the taxes I pay are used to persecute me and make me into a criminal without me having harmed anyone.”

The letter noted that “tens of hundreds of thousands of entirely normative people smoke marijuana” and that the police “are doing everything in their capacity to persecute them.”

The letter’s authors claimed that the persecution has intensified in recent weeks, with the police searching private homes.

Fifty-six citizens signed the letter, complaining of body searches on passersby. They also noted that a man was recently apprehended for smoking a joint by undercover policemen during his beach wedding. “Where were these policemen when Arik Karp was murdered on the beach?” wondered the letter’s signatories, claiming that the war against them is coming at the expense of the war on gruesome crimes.

The letter also made note of marijuana’s medical benefits, and gave the lenient enforcement policy towards marijuana smokers in Europe, Canada, and the US.

Omer, one of the letter’s authors, explained in a conversation with Ynet, “A stigma has been created around marijuana consumers – druggies. I contribute to society and have never harmed anyone, but it’s enough for me to smoke a joint and be caught, and I immediately have a criminal record.”

The letter also claimed that the said persecution pushes marijuana smokers into the hands of drug dealers, where they are exposed to harder drugs.

The letter emphasized that it does not seek to change the laws against smoking marijuana, but rather to point out the waste of resources in enforcing it.

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss’ office responded, “The state comptroller received the letter and will examine it.”

– Article from Ynetnews on August 15, 2010.