Holy Smokes! Israel takes step toward marijuana reforms

JERUSALEM - Holy smokes! The Israeli government has taken a step toward decriminalizing marijuana use.

Israeli media say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet has approved a measure that would reduce penalties for possession of marijuana. If caught, smokers would pay a fine, instead of facing criminal charges.

Netanyahu said ahead of Sunday's meeting that a "new enforcement policy'' should be drawn up "cautiously and in a controlled manner.''

The decision does not mean that Jerusalem will now have Amsterdam-style coffee shops. The Haaretz daily said a committee would study ways to regulate the use of pot.

Opposition lawmaker Tamar Zandberg told Haaretz "this is an important step, but not the end of the road. It sends a message that a million of Israelis who consume marijuana aren't criminals.''