Over half of Israeli troopers smoked cannabis last year: Report
A recent report reveals that more than half of soldiers serving in the Israeli military have smoked cannabis over the past year, and that the use of marijuana in occupied territories has reached an all-time high in recent years.
According to statistics released by Israel Anti-Drugs Authority (IADA), the Israeli army’s decision to relax its disciplinary action on marijuana use, and permit soldiers to smoke weed up to five times while on leave has wrecked hopes of emphasizing “treatment instead of criminal enforcement” as troopers say the use of cannabis is more common than ever, even in military bases.
Besides, the current regulations, which took effect on January 1 last year, do not require court-martials and criminal charges, Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper reported.
The report added that 54.3 percent of Israeli soldiers admitted to have smoked cannabis over the past year, and 40.9 used marijuana last month.
“I told my commander, the platoon commander and the company commander that I smoke,” an unnamed soldier in a secret unit testified.
“I do not have a permit to smoke in terms of a medical license or anything like that, but I promised them that I do it when I’m home and not at the base, and they have no problem with that. I even went through the security classification after I told him that I smoked,” the soldier added.
“My commanders are aware that I smoke. The commanders also smoke, the staff smokes, the medical sergeant smokes, everyone smokes, so who will enforce this? The company commander may not smoke but is aware of all the soldiers who smoke. He sees them walking away and then coming back a little tired, but he ignores. It does not bother him, if they are not in an operational activity or there isn’t a danger,” another soldier said.
The report further disclosed that messaging application Telegram had become a cannabis mall, where some trading groups offered special discounts for Israeli soldiers in uniform.
An Israeli soldier serving in the center of the occupied territories and a merchant in cannabis even described his job as a fairly good income supplement.
“I buy a quantity of two hundred grams each time and sell in packages of 5 or 10 grams. I earn up between 10,000 and 15,000 shekels net a month. I buy per gram of cannabis at about 35 shekels and sell to my customers at 60 per gram. I bought a car, I saved 35 thousand shekels. Israelis like to do drugs. They like to escape from stress, and find a little quiet,” he said.