Is Netanyahu jumping on the cannabis bandwagon?

Netanyahu indicated that he would be open to the legalization of cannabis on a webcast posted to his Facebook page.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared open to the legalization of recreational pot on a LikudTV webcast posted to his Facebook page on Monday.

Fielding a question from Israeli voter Nir Bouskila about legalization, Netanyahu said he had already led “several changes in this area: A) We increased the use of medical marijuana. We raised Israel to one of the highest levels in the world; B) Here there’s a world market. [Medical marijuana] has become a meaningful export arm of the State of Israel. And now I’m looking into the question that was asked and I will give an answer soon. … It’s possible that it will happen.”

A Jerusalem Post report suggests that Netanyahu’s comments are related to the recent success of the Zehut party in the polls. Zehut, led by Moshe Feiglin, had been floundering in the polls until recently when several surveys have shown it passing the electoral threshold.

Although a fervently right-wing party, Zehut takes a liberal stance on pot legalization, raising it to a major plank in the party’s well-developed party platform – so well-developed that the platform itself has become a bestseller in Israel.

Its position on cannabis legalization has been suggested as one of the reasons for its growing popularity with young voters.

Polls suggest that Zehut is poaching voters from the Likud, the New Right party and the extreme left-wing Meretz party, which has also pushed for marijuana legalization.

Zehut praised Netanyahu’s remarks in a statement, according to The Jerusalem Post. “The entire political spectrum is moving towards Zehut’s firm stance on the matter of legalization… A large and strong Zehut will be able to bring about legalization in the first session of the 21st Knesset,” the party said.

“Legalization in Israel will save the lives of thousands of sick people and will free many citizens from unnecessary persecution,” Zehut said.