Israel advances medical marijuana export law in ‘huge leap for industry’

An Israeli government committee approved the first draft law on the export of medical cannabis, an important step toward the government’s long-delayed plan to foster an MMJ export industry.

The draft law was vetted by the Internal Affairs Committee, headed by Yoav Kish, and now moves to the Knesset – Israel’s Legislature – where lawmakers will take up the matter.

“The proposal passed gives the police almost complete authority to decide who should be allowed to grow medical cannabis for export purposes – and control powers are almost unlimited,” said Inbar Maymon-Pomeranchik, a biotech investment consultant specializing in Israel’s medical cannabis industry.

Maymon-Pomeranchik said it is not known if the legislation can be approved before the current Knesset is dissolved, because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government is on thin ice.

Nevertheless, the industry welcomed the law’s advancement after months of delays.

“Although a small step in the dry process of legislation, it’s a huge leap forward for the industry,” said Kfir Kachlon, investments principal and cannabis-technology lead at Jerusalem-based OurCrowd.

“On the local aspect, once approved, the export (law) will allow this industry to prosper, new jobs will be created, growers and producers will be able to finally realize their true business potential, and the Israeli economy can finally unlock the full market potential that analysts believe will be around $4 billion.”

Bureaucratic red tape and a failure to pass laws and regulations that would allow Israeli growers to export medical cannabis products has already prompted some companies to move their operations to Europe.

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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