Earlier this year, Israel’s cabinet approved a law to allow exports of medical cannabis to countries where it’s legal.
This piece of legislation puts Israel as the third country to legally export cannabis aside from the Netherlands and Canada. Israel is also the third country in the world that has cannabis research sponsored by the government.
Israel has a longstanding history with the herb. In 1964, Israeli scientists Raphael Mechoulam and Yechiel Gaoni were the first to isolate THC. In the early 1990s, medical cannabis became legal for most pain-related illnesses.
Israel is considered a global leader in medical cannabis research. Their climate and humidity levels are also perfect for growing cannabis. In 2016, over 50 U.S. companies invested $125 million in Israeli cannabis operations. Meanwhile, the Israeli government also allocates $8 million shekels a year for the research.
With their medical industry thriving, it’s no surprise that Israel is looking to start exporting their new cash crop. Analysts expect revenues of 4 billion shekels (roughly $1.1 billion) a year from exporting medical cannabis. The first stop for Israel on their campaign to enter a budding global market sector is more than likely Europe and the UK.
The International Cannabis Business Conference recently highlighted the timing of the Israeli government passing this new law. Germany, currently EU’s biggest medical cannabis market, is just three months out from their next big cultivation bid. The passing of this bill allows for Israel to be a contender in partnering with new businesses that will be entering the German medical market. As the medical cannabis industry is really starting to explode in Europe, it’s no surprise that other countries are looking to strike while the iron is hot. Who knows — maybe Israel will be the next country to fully legalize recreational cannabis.