Israel Economy Minister Eli Cohen has approved the export of medical cannabis products, with the new rules taking effect in 30 days, according to a Reuters report. The order comes more than a year after lawmakers approved the law unanimously.
The international market for Israeli cannabis could be worth as much as $33 billion, medical cannabis company iCAN estimates, and stocks of the country’s cannabis companies made gains following Choen’s announcement on Wednesday, i24 News reports.
Hagit Weinstock, co-founder of the Weinstock-Zehavi & Co law firm, told Reuters that “there are many investments that we are expected to see happening now, because investors were waiting for this approval.”
Cohen called the reforms “a significant step” for Israeli cannabusinesses, exporters, and industry job seekers. However, the Health Ministry told TheMarker that they were “not ready to handle large quantities of exports” because of manpower shortages. The agency indicated that until the standards were in place they would “approve small quantities for research and development and validation only.” The Health Ministry told TheMarker that more than 10 cultivators and five factories already meet the agency’s licensing standards.
The export plans were first announced in 2016 and approved by Finance and Health ministers in 2017. At that time, officials expected medical cannabis exports could bring in between $279 million and $1.1 billion in revenues. The plan was temporarily put on hold in 2018 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who wanted to take a closer look at the program.
Israel has 60,000 medical cannabis patients.