Israel hits pause on medical marijuana exports; Cronos exec not concerned 

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, Israel hits pause on medical marijuana exports; Cronos exec not concerned 

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suspended reforms on plans to allow cannabis growers to export their product due to concerns that MMJ could find its way to the black market.

One Canadian company that expanded to Israel last year, Stayner, Ontario-based Cronos Group, said the regulatory delay doesn’t change its strategy, and the licensed producer still aims to start exports from Israel in the second half of this year.

“We didn’t expect a decision to be made today, and if anything, the review shows that Israel is being prudent and responsible. It makes all the sense in the world for Israel to ask these questions,” Cronos CEO Mike Gorenstein told Marijuana Business Daily.

“We’ve got months before exports need to happen, so I do not believe what’s happening is ‘blocking’ (exports), it’s just them getting more information on security.”

Last summer, an inter-ministerial committee of the Israeli Finance and Health Ministries recommended approving exports, and legislation has been expected to be completed in early 2018.

But Netanyahu hit the pause button after being presented with data from Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan regarding the “spillover of medical cannabis into the recreational market,” Haaretz Newspaper reported.

Netanyahu instructed the National Economic Council and the Health Ministry to prepare a review that’s expected to take less than a month to complete.

Israel has long been an international leader in research and development for medical cannabis, and the country has made strides recently to establish an export-focused domestic production industry.

Matt Lamers can be reached at

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