Ministers at today's Israeli cabinet meeting voted to approve cannabis exports. Actual exports will begin after rules are written stating exactly how the process will take place, which will probably take 9-12 months.
Approval of exports is designed to enable Israel to compete in a rapidly growing market estimated in the tens of billions of dollars. Possible revenue for Israel was previously estimated at NIS 4 billion. In the past few years, however, new competitors have entered the market, and the current market potential is estimated at NIS 1 billion.
Israel is in a unique position to exploit the potential of the medical cannabis market. Israel has vast knowledge and experience in smart agriculture, plus knowledge and experience in developing medical products, among other things in devising medical compounds, innovative drug delivery devices, and analysis of medical information that can connect the patient with the cannabis compound suitable for him and his disease. Israel was one of the pioneers in approving medical cannabis, and has a number of established companies already working in the field. The nine pioneers are Tikun Olam, Pharmocann (currently on the verge of merging with MCS Medical Compression Systems (DBN) Ltd. (TASE:MDCL)), Better Cannabis (on the verge of merging with Whitesmoke Ltd. (TASE:WSMK)), CannDoc (fully owned by InterCure Ltd. (TASE: INCR-L)), BOL (which obtained a investment from Amir Marketing & Investments in Agriculture Ltd. (TASE:ARMK)), Seach, IMC, Teva Adir, and Cannabliss.
At the same time, up until recently, Israel was one of the few countries in which clinical trials of medical cannabis could be conducted. As such, it attracted companies, which conducted their clinical trials in Israel. The medical system also acquired extraordinary knowledge in this field.
Adv. Reut Alfiah, partner and head of the cannabis department at law firm ZAG - S&W said, "The government's decision today marks a special day for the cannabis industry in Israel, and constitutes a historic step towards opening up the gates for exporting. Israel already possesses the infrastructure and knowhow in the medical cannabis R&D and growing sectors, however the previously existing regulatory barrier prevented Israel's ability to maximize its incredible potential in the space. Nevertheless, until exports actually commence, additional regulatory work will be required. Currently, regulations will need to be implemented, so to understand how the process will be conducted- for example, will the companies themselves export or will a state-mandated organ be established to facilitate such exports, which products will be allowed for export, will only oils be permitted or other additional products. In my opinion, we are looking at least six months before such regulations will be legislated, specifically since the national elections stand to delay completion of the process."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 27, 2019
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