Starting April 20, some Israeli pharmacies will begin selling medical cannabis products under a national pilot program, CTECH reports. The program, approved by the government in 2016, will see participation from 20 pharmacies as part of a broader Ministry of Health-approved expansion.
That expansion included overhauls to reduce patient wait times and a product export plan; however, in February, PM Benjamin Netanyahu put the brakes on medical cannabis exports pending a review of the plan by the Health Ministry and the Economic Council chairman. Israeli news agency Hadashot reported that Netanyahu suspended the program after speaking with President Donald Trump, whom he reportedly did not want to anger with the exportation plan. In August, an Israeli parliamentary committee estimated that cannabis exports could bring in $1.1 billion per year.
The Ministry of Health will oversee the medical cannabis program expansion. The department will select and supervise cultivators, processors, distributors, and pharmacies. The guidelines will be the same as those governing the pharmaceutical industry, the report says. The regulations include rules on labeling, shelf-life, and active-ingredient concentration. Israeli physicians will be able to prescribe medical cannabis products.
If the regulations are approved, Israel would be the first country to standardize medical cannabis products.