Back in January, we reported that Israel made the groundbreaking decision to approve the export of medical Cannabis. Now, analysts are predicting that the industry could see unprecedented revenue within a decade.
Ayelet Shaked, Justice Minister of Israel, made a statement back in January about the Israeli government’s decision to legalize the export of cannabis: “I am glad this is finally happening. It opens a huge market in Israel. The technology is here in Israel, and until now we simply had to give the technology to other countries. Therefore, I am glad we can reap the profits here in Israel.”
The Israeli cannabis industry was estimated to be worth around $11 billion back in 2015, but it has grown in leaps and bounds since then. Obviously, all exports require full approval from the Israeli Ministry of Health and can only be shipped to countries where cannabis is legal. That means that fully legal countries like Uruguay, Holland, Canada, and countries with medical cannabis provisions are potential destinations for legal Israeli exports.
As Sara Gluck, president of the America Israel Cannabis Association said, according to a report in Newsweek, “Canada, with its new regulated market is not in a position to export cannabis due to in-country demand and shortages. The biggest obstacle will be countries allowing for these imports. There are over 30 countries that have medical cannabis programs, and these are all potential importers of Israeli cannabis.”
The Jerusalem Post reported recently that Israeli cannabis exports are projected to hit $1 billion in tax revenues, with that market ballooning to a potential $60 billion within ten years as previously mentioned. It was also reported that the official Israeli stance on legal cannabis exports was tied into the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Due to his tough stance on cannabis, Israel felt it would be best to wait until Mr. Sessions had moved on, and when that happened, they acted fast. Israel already has an existing medical cannabis program for a few thousand patients with licenses, but it is heavily regulated and cumbersome for the most part. Only eight Israeli companies are allowed to grow medical cannabis, while hundreds of applications for cultivation are in the pipeline.
While the new steps make cannabis export from Israel legal, cannabis is still illegal in the Jewish State. According to Gluck, there’s a vast movement to legalize cannabis in Israel, and apparently, 71 percent of Israelis want it legal. One cannabis advocate in Israel – an attorney named Reut Alfiah, who heads up the dedicated cannabis department at the law firm ZAG – S&W, said according to a Globes report: “The government’s decision marks a special day for the cannabis industry in Israel.”
“It constitutes a historic step towards opening up the gates for exporting. Israel already possesses the infrastructure and know-how in the medical cannabis R&D and growing sectors,” she continued. “However, the previously existing regulatory barrier prevented Israel’s ability to maximize its incredible potential in the space.”
Speaking recreationally, cannabis is illegal in Israel but was decriminalized to an extent recently. We reported a few weeks ago that as of April 1, 2019, personal possession of cannabis would no longer be subject to criminal proceedings and would be punishable by a civil fine. However, cultivating and selling cannabis is highly illegal in Israel and carries some long prison sentences for those getting caught.
Despite that, Israel is all set to become one of the world’s biggest medical cannabis exporters with an eye towards a very bright and lucrative future.