Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jan 2003
Source: New York Post (NY)
Copyright: 2003 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc.
Author: Uri Dan


JERUSALEM - Leaders of Israel's pro-marijuana party, who may win their 
first parliament seat in next week's national elections, were unexpectedly 
invited to the U.S. Embassy yesterday to explain their make-pot-not-war 

Members of the Green Leaf Party, whose emblem is an Israeli flag with a 
marijuana leaf, said they were asked by U.S. officials about their 
legislative agenda - in particular whether they support legalization of 
drugs other than pot.

Dan Greenblatt, the second-ranked party candidate on Tuesday's ballot, was 
pleased by the invitations because he said the embassy usually invites only 
those parties already represented in the 120-seat Knesset.

Despite the crowded field of 29 parties, polls indicate Green Leaf is close 
to winning one seat.

Party members say their strength is unknown because a much larger 
percentage of Israelis smokes pot than are questioned by pollsters.

"It's illogical to turn 1 million law-abiding citizens in Israel into 
criminals," the party's commercials say.

Green Leaf not only advocates legalizing pot, but also planting it in toxic 
waste dumps to soak up heavy metals.

Israel's volatile political scene is so unsettled that according to the 
latest poll, an anti-clerical faction may become the second largest party.

The Shinnui Party, which vows to cut government perks for Orthodox Jews, 
may outpoll the Labor Party, the party of past prime ministers such as 
Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak, the Yediot Achronoth poll 
found. Both run well behind Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party.

With Post Wire Services 
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