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Israeli government urged to consider legalizing pot

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Legalizing marijuana would generate more than $450 million annually for Israel’s economy, according to a new study. A co-author of the report, released by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, said the evidence demands Israel’s government take a serious look at legalizing and taxing cannabis.

The study shows the black market for pot in Israel is worth about $707 million per year. Marijuana, if taxed like cigarettes, would add $268 million into the government’s income and would also save law enforcement agencies $198 million since they would not have to spend money tracking down and arresting marijuana smokers.

Only 26 percent of Israelis support legalization of marijuana, while 64 percent oppose it, according to the study. About 4 percent of the population, or 275,000 Israelis, used marijuana in the past year. Study co-author Yarden Gazit feels legal pot could gain more support if more people realize its medicinal benefits.

“There is no disputing that if the public is able to get past the wholly negative misperceptions associated with marijuana usage and appreciate the potential benefits with limited social or healthcare costs, this is an idea that needs open-minded and serious re-examination at this time,” Gazit said.

Read more about the study from The Jewish Press, here.

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