The Israeli Knesset or parliament has finally approved a bill that would allow the export of medical cannabis. The ability to export medical marijuana will, in turn, allow the country to become an active player in the global cannabis industry.
This is great news considering that Israel is a pioneer in marijuana research, development, and biotech. In 2016, the government approved a medical cannabis reform and in 2017, approved and established a plan to export cannabis products to the United States and other countries.
However, early in 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suddenly decided to freeze this cannabis export program. Netanyahu said that he did not want to draw the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration had launched a crackdown on cannabis last year.
Moreover, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan opposed the export plan and his opposition had become a major obstacle to the program’s implementation.
In April 2018, Erdan reached an agreement with the Finance Minister and the Health Minister pertaining to the security of cannabis products during export to other countries. They have come up with a revised export plan, which provides for the allocation of additional funds to monitor the export products and prevent them from falling into the hands of the black market.
Now, in a wonderful update, the parliament has given final approval to a law that would allow for medical cannabis to be exported. The move is expected to boost state coffers and bring the economy more than $1.14 billion each year.
Lawmakers unanimously voted for the bill, which still needs the approval of the cabinet ministers and of Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Israeli cannabis companies are among the world’s biggest producers of medical cannabis products. This is thanks to a favorable climate for growing the crop and for its expertise in agricultural and medical technologies.
The bill to allow exports is governed by tough regulations on producers and threatens hefty fines and even jail terms for violations.
Currently, Israel has eight licensed cultivating companies, with many of them resorting to opening farms abroad in order to get into the international market. There have been dozens of license requests from business owners who are waiting for authorization.
Licenses to engage in medical cannabis is going to be subject to the Health Ministry’s approval.