Judge Alex Stein rejected the state's request for an additional extension to file a response to the petition to the High Court of Justice, but set a very late date for the hearing and ordered the State Attorney's Office to submit its response two weeks before it.
The State was supposed to submit the response to the petition two months ago, but at its request, this decision was rejected by the judge until the beginning of the month (1.6).
The State Attorney's Office filed an application for an additional extension, up to 2.7, but the judge rejected the request and decided to schedule a hearing even before he read the State's response to the arguments in the petition.
In fact, the petition succeeded in the first stage when it was not rejected out of hand, and it will certainly stand before a substantive discussion with 3 judges, but the hearing was set for a relatively late date, 22.4.2020, in about ten months.
The petition was filed by Adv. Hetz David in the name of Oren Leibowitz and with the assistance of 3,000 donors, demanding the cancellation of the incrimination of cannabis consumers in Israel and the establishment of a legal cannabis market.
In response to the State's request to postpone the date of submission of the reply, Justice Stein wrote that "I see no point in granting further extensions to the Respondents, I order that the petition be brought before the TALA [three judges] panel."
According to his decision, "Respondents' response will be submitted no later than 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing." The date of the discussion was set this morning as stated only for the spring 2020.
In response, the petitioners are considering the possibility of submitting an interim order that will require the court to order the police to stop enforcing cannabis offenses for personal use and to stop the distribution of the fines until the petition is heard.
"The fact that the court held a hearing before three judges even before receiving the State's response shows that it sees merit in the petition," the petitioners said. "Unfortunately, however, the deadline is far away, in view of the fact that the court does not see urgency in the petition that is intended to change a situation that exists even before the establishment of the state."
"In order to try to sweeten the bitter pill that is the date of the hearing and the fact that the state will not submit its position for almost another year, we intend to examine the submission of a request for an interim order that will freeze criminal enforcement and the fines for self-use of cannabis."
The cannabis fines have so far reached more than NIS 2 in aggregate, based on data revealed by Minister Gilad Erdan.
A new bill to abolish the cannabis consumer ban and allow the cultivation of one cannabis plant for self-use is also under development, but early elections are expected to be postponed for a few more months.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Expressed support In the bill, and despite the opposition of coalition members from the ultra-Orthodox and extreme right parties, this bill may be approved with the support of the opposition parties.