On August 13, a joint interministerial committee put together by Israel’s Finance and Health Ministries approved the export of medical cannabis. Israel could earn an estimated NIS 1 billion ($279 million) to NIS 4 billion a year ($1.1 billion) per year by allowing medical cannabis to be exported.
The committee is led by two directors as well as representatives from the ministries of agriculture and rural development, internal security, justice, economics and industry. The committee considered the potential economic, legal and regulatory impacts of allowing the export medical cannabis, before approving the proposal.
Several Health and Finance ministers approved of the change. “The export of medical cannabis is an industry with significant economic potential for the State of Israel and will strengthen Israeli agriculture in general and agriculture in the Arava region in particular,” Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon told the Jerusalem Post. “It will serve as an opportunity for the country to exploit its relative advantage in developing medical products from medical cannabis.”
The plan to export medical cannabis was rejected however by Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who said the move would be “irresponsible, unprofessional and unwise.”
Some restrictions will apply, however. For instance, the export must be carried out by the Health Ministry or by direct parties, exports be approved only to countries that permit the use of medical cannabis and export and it can only be approved only for farmers who receive a Health Ministry license to grow it and export cannabis.
There are currently about 30,000 medical cannabis patients who have the approval from Israel’s Health Ministry, but Israel’s medical cannabis products could be used in European countries that allow medical cannabis and in the United States.
Cultivators have been pushing for the export of cannabis for years. Eight cultivators are currently licensed to grow cannabis, but there are over 500 applicants trying to get a cultivator license. The small nation produces about 10 tons of cannabis per year and can afford to export some of its cannabis supply.