Israeli cannabis exports now in prime minister’s hands; Trump pressure denied

A key Israeli parliamentary committee came to a consensus on the urgent need to approve medical cannabis exports – which insiders consider crucial for the creation of a sustainable MMJ industry – and vowed Monday to push for a quick resolution.

That clears an important hurdle for the issuance of export permits, putting the ball in the court of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has asked for a review of the export plan.

The Israeli Ministry of Public Security said it would drop its opposition to medical cannabis exports as long as budget financing is in place to enforce regulations and prevent “leakage” into the illegal recreational sector, according to briefing notes of the meeting obtained by Marijuana Business Daily.

At Monday’s meeting, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel disputed media reports that U.S. President Donald Trump had a hand in delaying the approval of medical cannabis exports, calling the reports false.

A Ministry of Finance representative said the minister supports exports, claiming it could add 1 billion-4 billion shekels ($286 million-$1.1 billion) in tax revenue per year to Israel’s coffers.

The parliamentary committee meeting came after the marijuana industry took the government to court to approve exports sooner rather than later.

Hagit Weinstock, the lawyer behind the legal action, called reports of Netanyahu bowing to U.S. pressure and blocking exports “fake news.”

“Netanyahu asked his chief economic adviser to review the potential economic options,” Weinstock said.

“This is just something a prime minister has to do. We’re arguing ‘when’ exports are approved, not ‘if.’”

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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