Israel moves toward becoming a medical cannabis exporter

Israel, already a leading cannabis research power, could become a major player in the international marijuana business landscape after a government committee approved draft legislation allowing the export of medical marijuana.

The green light from the ministerial committee on legislation means the measure will proceed as a government-backed bill, AFP reported.

But a government statement announcing the committee’s approval also cautioned that it would take Israel’s parliament “months” to approve cannabis export legislation, according to Reuters.

The Middle Eastern country is home to about 50 various cannabis businesses – including cultivators, research outfits, and ancillary companies – that stand to benefit from being able to export their products, Reuters reported.

At the moment, Israel has nine licensed medical marijuana suppliers that serve about 23,000 registered patients, generating a market that tops out at $20 million, the news agency said.

In a related development, Israel’s Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry plans to spend 8 million shekels ($2.1 million) on research into cannabis cultivation, biochemistry and medicine. The government is hopeful the research will lead to cannabis-based therapeutic products.