Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preventing medical cannabis companies from exporting products – a move that was approved in August by Finance and Health Ministers – pending a policy review by the Health Ministry and the National Economic Council chairman, according to a Haaretz report. The program suspension comes after the Public Security Ministry released data suggesting “spillover” of medical cannabis products into the illicit market.

MK Tamar Zandberg, chair of the Knesset Committee on Drug Abuse, lamented the decision, saying officials would “live to regret the decision to stop important progress that Israel has already started making, which will erase the competitive advantage that Israel has developed in the marijuana market that is breaking ground worldwide.” She said she would convene the Drug Abuse Committee for an emergency hearing on the issue.

“Netanyahu’s decision to stop marijuana exports is a destructive one stemming from ignorance and fear. Israel merited being an agricultural power, and, yes, in the marijuana field, too. It’s good for the economy, it’s good for agriculture and it’s good for the sick” – Zandberg to Haaretz

The Finance and Health Ministries estimated that cannabis exports could bring in between NIS 1 billion ($279 million) to NIS 4 billion ($1.1 billion) in revenues.

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