Israel plans to decriminalise personal marijuana use, Gilad Erdan, the nation’s Public Security Minister, said on Thursday, adopting an approach similar to some US states and European countries.

Mr Erdan said that if the Government approves his new policy, those caught smoking marijuana would be fined rather than arrested and prosecuted. Criminal procedures would be launched only against those caught repeatedly.

“Police will be able to redirect resources … away from normative personal users and focus instead on dangerous drugs,” he told a news conference in Tel Aviv.

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Marijuana use is fairly common in Israel. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has said that almost 9 per cent of Israelis use cannabis.

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