Israeli Finance and Health ministers have approved a plan allowing medical cannabis to be exported from the country in a move that is estimated to bring in between NIS 1 billion ($279 million) to NIS 4 billion ($1.1 billion) in revenues, the Jerusalem Post reports. Exported products will include all forms of medical cannabis produced in Israel and so far more than 500 farmers have applied for an export license.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said the plan represents “significant economic potential” for the country “and will strengthen Israeli agriculture in general and agriculture in the Arava region in particular.”
“It will serve as an opportunity for the country to exploit its relative advantage in developing medical products from medical cannabis,” he said in the report.
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, who opposes the exportation plan, said he agreed to the request due to “international interest in Israeli medical cannabis” adding that officials “will ensure” that the health sector benefits from the state revenue increases.
The system includes several restrictions – the exports will be closely monitored by the state; exports will only be allowed to nations that have medical cannabis regimes that explicitly allow imports from Israel, and farmers must obtain a license from the Health Ministry to cultivate and export medical cannabis products.
Currently, there are eight licensed growers in Israel who produce about 10 tons per year.