Israeli Pro-Pot Party Promises Free Weed to Contributors

By Paul Gaita 01/29/15

Oren Leibovitz hopes to build on the recent success of the Green Leaf Party despite pot remaining illegal in Israel.

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Israel's Aleh Yarok, or “Green Leaf” Party, hopes to improve its chances of landing a seat in the Knesset by promising marijuana to anyone who contributes to their campaign.

The libertarian party, which supports the decriminalization of marijuana in Israel, announced the pot-for-support initiative via YouTube video featuring party head Oren Leibovitz on January 10 before officially soliciting donations through a Headstart fundraising campaign.

Individuals donating New Israeli Shekel (NIS) 50, or approximately $12.50 in U.S. dollars, will receive a savings bond redeemable for a single gram of marijuana, which costs between NIS 80 and 100 via the street trade. Those contributing larger amounts were entitled to greater gifts, ranging from five grams of marijuana and an Aleh Yarok T-shirt (for NIS 420) to co-ownership of a Netherlands-style coffeeshop at the NIS 10,000 level.

The catch is that marijuana remains illegal in Israel, and contributors would only be able to collect their gifts if Aleh Yarok gains the minimum number of votes needed for representation in the Knesset and manages to pass their pro-legalization legislation. However, donors appeared undeterred; by Wednesday January 14, Aleh Yarok had received more than NIS 115,000, or $25,000 U.S. dollars.

The party is currently seeking NIS 300,000 to fund a nationwide billboard campaign in hopes of spreading their message to a wider demographic of potential voters. Aleh Yarok’s previous attempts to gain seats in the Knesset, including a recent bid in 2013, met with failure.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.