Israel has been a leader in cannabis for many decades. It leads the world in research and also in the production of the plant for therapeutic use. Once again it is in the news for approving an amendment to a bill that will allow the export of medicinal cannabis to other countries.
Back in 2016 the Knesset - the Israeli Parliament - approved the bill in favour of exports. And on December 25th, it passed with a resounding 21-0 vote, although it still needs approval by the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and cabinet ministers.
No votes against
21 votes in favour and none against is an overwhelmingly positive result, and with this, all Israeli government parties support the sixteenth amendment to the bill covering the regulatory aspects of medicinal cannabis exportation. This law allows farmers to cultivate the plant for therapeutic use, but first they have to obtain a license from the Ministry of Health, the police and the producers' control authority.
Israeli police come into play
According to the Seedo company, this amendment "authorizes the Israeli police to supervise and grant authorisations for the cultivation, growth and export of cannabis and cannabis-related products, thus eliminating the last legal obstacle necessary for the approval of the export of cannabis." medicinal cannabis of the country, which is expected during 2019.” Thus, Israel moves a step closer to becoming a medical cannabis exporting country, the participation of the police being imperative for final approval.
Remember that at the beginning of 2018 the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, suspended the reform due to disagreements with the police. And for many years this law has been paralyzed because the police force was afraid that with it a black market would also be created. This fear disappeared with their supervision of the granting of licenses.
In this way, each person who wants to export cannabis to other countries will have to request a license from the police, and the police can respond with a positive or negative recommendation. The police department has four months to respond to national applicants and six months to respond to foreign investors. This bill also includes strict regulation. If exporters do not comply with the provisions, they are liable to large fines and long prison sentences.
Awaiting government resolution
Now, all that is missing is a government resolution that authorizes the export. It is important to remember that this would be shipments of cannabis for medicinal purposes to other countries, since in Israel recreational consumption of the plant remains illegal. Although, thanks to a bill in 2017, the possession of cannabis and personal consumption has now been decriminalized. On their website they indicate that "any license to consume medicinal cannabis will be subject to a license from the Ministry of Health".
Even the most conservative right-wing parties agree on the medicinal properties. Yoav Kisch, deputy of Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu's party pointed out the enormous economic potential of cannabis, in addition to its medicinal properties, describing it as a "blessed product that mitigates the suffering of the sick."
Good news for state coffers
The final objective will be to regulate the export of medicinal cannabis, in addition to creating a medicinal cannabis market that is estimated to add about 1,000 million NIS a year to the state coffers. The economic impact of this new law will be tremendous. There are currently eight companies that cultivate cannabis for therapeutic use and many more are waiting for official authorization to do so, according to data from the Israeli Parliament.
With this new bill and the technology available to Israel, iCAN, the cannabis company of Israel has calculated that the country can become the most important medicinal cannabis technology centre in the world. They also estimate that within five years the cannabis market around the world will reach 33,000 million dollars. In addition, of course, to signalling the end of the stigma of the plant and increase in demand.