Israel, uncompromising with its soldiers regarding cannabis?
Updated: Jul 29, 2021
Punishments and restrictions are put in place on the use of cannabis or any other drug within the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
An advertising campaign was therefore created for this purpose via the Jerusalem Post, in order to inform and deter soldiers about the consumption of possible substances, and the possible punishments that accompany it. This decision follows a study made by the General Staff Committee, which then decided to introduce stricter regulations for soldiers.
The IDF spokesman said in a statement that “In the fight against drug use within the IDF, a reform has been agreed to strengthen measures to combat this phenomenon and allow sanctions against the troops.”
Soldiers subject to violations of the new rules put in place will now be severely punished. They will no longer be able to take advantage of the benefits normally granted to the army corps, they will also lose their demobilization grants at the end of their service.
This decision may seem surprising in that Israel, several years ago, partially decriminalized cannabis. However, soldiers apparently remain excluded from this legislation. Those caught in the act of possession or consumption of cannabis or other drug even during the period of leave, are liable to be arrested and dragged in front of the criminal court. Following the trial, soldiers are eligible for demotion and a driving licence ban.
However, these rules are not fully effective since, according to a 2018 study by the Israeli Anti-Drug Authority, more than a majority of soldiers admitted to using substances that were banned during their year of service.
We can therefore question the usefulness of such restrictions, and the possible need for more flexible rules.