Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has joined a short, but growing, list of former heads of state getting involved in the international cannabis industry.
Barak has joined Herzliya-based licensed medical cannabis company Intercure as chairman of its board of directors.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox sits on the board of directors of Canadian cannabis company Khiron Life Sciences, which primarily operates in Colombia, and the board of High Times, a U.S.-based marijuana publication.
Fox was president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006.
John Turner, who had a short term as Canada’s prime minister in 1984, backed a failed medical cannabis company in 2014.
Intercure is currently changing its name to Canndoc Pharma.
Kfir Kachlon, head of the investments team at Jerusalem-based OurCrowd, said Barak’s move to Intercure is a sign of the cannabis industry’s maturity.
“This is a healthy sign that the cannabis industry in Israel is moving from a niche, with only hardcore believers operating/investing in it, to the next, more established, phase: growing its legitimacy and driving it further into the mainstream,” he said.
Inbar Maymon-Pomeranchik, a biotech investment consultant specializing in Israel’s medical cannabis industry, said bringing on someone of Barak’s stature will open doors for the company.
“Once someone like Ehud Barak is a chairman in a cannabis company, it makes the whole business much more legit and opens the door – and eyes and ears – of many opposers,” she said.
“I would love to hear ex-CEO of Novartis, of Merck, of Pfizer (joining cannabis boards) … that would signal a significant change toward maturity” of the industry.
Lilac Mandeles, vice president of business development and innovation at Better, said it is a step closer to the global recognition of medical cannabis by governments.
Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]
To sign up for our weekly international marijuana business newsletter, click here.