WSJ: Why cannabis legalization could decide Israel’s next prime minister

The kingmaker in forming a coalition government may well be a small far-right party that backs deregulated marijuana.

Beyond the future of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and everything else at stake in Israel’s April 9 election, the Jewish state also seems poised, in distinctly Israeli fashion, to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Understanding why requires a journey into the intricacies of Israel’s raucous electoral system—and shows how desperate Israel’s clashing political blocs are for every vote in an election that pollsters expect to be tight.

In March, Mr. Netanyahu said on a webcast from his Facebook page that he was “looking into the matter” of cannabis legalization, adding that his government had expanded medical marijuana use. On Tuesday, the prime minister boasted at a campaign event for his right-wing Likud party that, under his leadership, “Israel is turning into a cannabis-exporting power.” Mr. Netanyahu added, “Whoever is for the plant should vote Likud.”

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