Israel’s Health Ministry has issued 37 preliminary permits to farmers to build facilities to cultivate medicinal cannabis, according to a Jerusalem Post report. If the farmers receive the additional permits necessary to begin construction, the number of medical cannabis growers in Israel would rise significantly as there are currently only eight licensed producers growing crops for Israeli patients.
The approvals come after the farmers petitioned a court in January to begin the licensing process after the government passed a resolution in June 2016 to expand the number of approved medical cannabis growers. The farmers had been waiting on government officials to perform site checks necessary for permitting – which didn’t happen and forced the court action.
Hagit Weinstock, the farmers’ attorney, said the approvals will help patients better access medicinal cannabis and support government plans to export medical cannabis products; although she was “troubled” that the matter had to be handled in court.
According to a statement from the ministry’s Medical Cannabis Unit, the delays were caused by a lack of resources for the Israeli Police who are tasked with performing the site checks.
“The approval is not a license to work in the field of cannabis but is a preliminary approval – an approval for the planning and construction of the farm and preparation for quality checks, without authorization for [having possession of] the drug,” the ministry said in the report.
Farmers who are given further approval will need to obtain a special license to handle cannabis through the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.
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