Will medical cannabis exports be a source of revenue for Israel?


All Israeli medical cannabis researchers, farmers, manufacturers and users all owe it to an Israeli scientist and his modest laboratory at Rehovot’s Weizmann Institute of Science.

In 1964, Prof. Raphael Mechoulam asked his veteran friend to illegally provide him with confiscated Lebanese hashish so that he could use it for his first cannabis-related experiments. He later used it in a laboratory and became the first researcher to isolate the THC and CBD compounds in the cannabis plant, opening the road for cannabis as a treatment for pain and inflammation.

Five decades later, Israel – still popular for being the first country to start medical cannabis research and innovation – is ready to begin exporting medical cannabis to a quickly rising, worldwide, legal cannabis industry. The Israeli government has projected that the state could be receiving billions of dollars each year from legal cannabis exports.

According to the Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman. Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, the highly acclaimed law, passed last month to Israel’s 1973 legislation on harmful drugs, allowing a regulated procedure to permit Israeli medical cannabis exports, showed a significant progression for the country. The minister also said that this was a historic moment for farmers, patients, and even the Israeli economy.

As forecasted, the agreement was highly received from different private industry leaders, who had second thoughts about the government.

Most entrepreneurs think that this is the right moment for the cannabis industry. The business owners also warned that Israel’s authorization of medical cannabis exports wouldn’t lead to instant profits. And it could take some time before the country starts exporting cannabis.

According to the CEO of IMC Medical Cannabis, Oren Shuster, the market has long awaited this decision.

He also said that many organizations received pending licenses for production, and most of them were curiously waiting for exports to be authorized before betting on growing facilities.

IMC is located beside the Gaza Strip border and owns one of only four Israeli farms which received a GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) standard for cannabis growth, based on the global standard for good growing of produce.

IMC and other Israeli cultivators are most significant than other European competitors because of an excellent Israeli climate. This has made most Israeli companies benefit from that competitive edge. The European export market is still establishing is not able to compete with Israel. Companies that are bound to be successful in the Israeli market are those with technical know-how and experience. The Health Ministry and police approval must permit companies who want to export cannabis.

Shutter believes that most individuals will enter the cannabis industry without knowing what to do. He also said that there would be numerous investments; many people will come out unsuccessful.

According to some projections, the European cannabis market could be worth about $66 billion within a decade, but Shuster said that it’s just an estimation and shouldn’t be taken seriously. Furthermore, export approvals do not signify that the first medical cannabis exports will go to Europe.

Apart from medical cannabis cultivation in the South of Israel, Lod-based Panaxia Pharmaceutical Industries is now a worldwide leader in offering medical cannabis treatments through multiple delivery methods. Currently, the company provides about 30 different kinds of cannabis-related products and delivery methods.

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