All Israeli celebs are asking is to be left to smoke pot in peace. Unfortunately, a high-profile drug bust has caused a stir in Israel’s circles of fame, putting smoky celebs in the police’s sights.
Nightclub promoter Eyal Peleg was nabbed in a highly publicized arrest last weekend and accused of selling drugs in the Tel Aviv area. His arrest, in which a meager but not totally insignificant amount of marijuana was seized, resulted in police acquiring a list of Peleg’s 30 celebrity customers. When the police began to investigate three of the celebrities (comedian Keren Mor, top TV producer Moti Reif and actor Yehuda Levi), the support of many other joint-toting and famous people, perhaps fearful they’d be next in line, began to pour in.
Reif took to Facebook, and in a defiant post detailed his marijuana use and why he was not ashamed of it. That post helped to spark up an Instagram and Facebook campaign of selfies from members of the public and better-known faces, with subjects displaying the hashtag # תנולעשןבשקט: “Let us smoke in peace.” Never has a hashtag been more directly related to hash.
TimeOut Israel boosted the campaign on April 8 in an article that claims Israel is undergoing a “transitional period” that will end with equality for tobacco, alcohol and marijuana in the eyes of the law. Medical marijuana has been legal for years in Israel, but the drug is still prohibited for recreational use, and legalization is rapidly becoming a hot topic. The TimeOut article raises the common refrain that alcohol leads to violence and cigarettes kill, but joints do neither (although it fails to mention claims that long-term use of marijuana can contribute to incidences of schizophrenia and other mental disorders).
Following the article, a Facebook page titled “Let Us Smoke” was created as a rallying point for the cause, amassing nearly 2,000 likes in just two days.
Israeli media was recently abuzz with news of the increasing number of people growing weed at home, as a result of a marijuana drought in the country. Police generally let go first-time offenders caught with a small amount of pot for personal use. However, possession of marijuana is technically punishable by up to three years in prison.
The protesters are planning a mass gathering to smoke weed in front of the Israeli Knesset on April 20. More than 4,000 people have pledged to attend the so-called “Big Bong Night,” again via Facebook. The event will last from midnight until exactly 4:20 a.m., at which time the smokers will dissipate, along with the purple haze they’re likely to create.
The event page explains: “We are coming to smoke cannabis, because that’s what we do. And if the nation has a problem with smoking cannabis, it’s welcome to start arresting us one by one. …There will be no speeches or leaders at this event. We are all attending as equals, with one goal.”
To join together, and calmly demand the right to get high in private.