Israel Enters the Global Cannabis Market

Cannabis exportation and importation is now legal in Israel, after receiving final approval from the government.

Israeli cannabis cultivators will now be able to export to the global market, after first satisfying the domestic demand for medicinal marijuana products.

This is an understandable caveat, as the country is currently suffering from a medicinal cannabis shortage, which was caused in part by the shutdown of Israel's largest marijuana producer late last year.

In fact, the situation has gotten so bad that the Ministry of Health announced in November that it would begin allowing the importation of cannabis into Israel to aid in combating the ongoing shortage.

According to the President of Kam Global Strategies, Laura Kam, there has been, "significant investment in cannabis farms and technology in Israel over the past several years with the view to export; but due to bureaucratic infighting and now, with a caretaker government that is unable to  give the final regulatory nod to export its crops as flower, oil or in other forms, there is much angst within the Israeli cannabis ecosystem."

"Many have decided to invest their funds and technological know-how outside of the country, setting up farms in places like Malta and Uganda and investing in or founding cannabis companies around the world, from Poland to the United States to Australia and elsewhere," Kam said.

This has led to a harvest overflow, as local farmers have been unable to offload their excess cannabis product onto the export market. As a result, the country is now overflowing with sellable cannabis, following Israel's decision to decriminalise adult-use cannabis possession in April 2019.

The change will rescinds a moratorium on such activities that has been in place since 2018, which was introduced after US President Donald Trump asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt the export of cannabis flower from Israel.

Pundits have also pointed to the influence of Israeli-American billionaire lobbyist, Miriam Adelson, who is strongly opposed to cannabis legalization due to her background as a physician specialising in substance abuse.

Additionally, the introduction of legal exportation was stymied by two tumultuous government elections which further delayed the legislation's progress, despite already receiving regulatory approval.

However, despite these changes many in the government still feel that the agricultural and medical research produced by the country's scientists will be the main driver of near term market growth, rather than Israeli grown cannabis.

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Hugo Gray
Hugo Gray

Hugo Gray is a Melbourne-based journalist with a body of work that covers a diverse range of topics, including immigration law, sex technology, and now the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

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