Israeli Cannabis Exports on Hold as PM Awaits Further Research

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected necessary permits to export medical cannabis from Israel to Germany and other EU-countries. Netanyahu is awaiting results of new clinical trials from the health ministry as well as a National Economic Council study before allowing Israeli growers to export medical cannabis produced under the health ministry’s supervision.

Netanyahu announced his decision on Sunday following a meeting with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Security Secretary Gilad Erdan. In August 2017, an inter-ministerial committee recommended and approved the export of medical cannabis. According to  Security Minister Erdan, he found indicators that cannabis grown for medicinal purposes was being misused for recreational purposes.

The findings prompted the Security Secretary to reject export plans for the time being.

Another reason for the unexpected move could be a change in United States’ position on the matter. U.S. President Donald Trump called the Israeli Prime Minister on Sunday before the meeting with Kahlon and Erdan, as reported by the Jerusalem Post. On the call, Trump expressed his displeasure with the medical cannabis export plan, proposed to be worth between $1-4 billion.

According to Netanyahu’s decision, medical cannabis from Israel will not be offered in German pharmacies for the foreseeable future. Patients, doctors, and policymakers alike had hoped to bridge the current bottlenecks in the supply chain with medicine from Israel. In December, the German federal government stated the import of cannabis cultivated from abroad is an option which is already being discussed in Israel on an inter-ministerial level. Now it seems the market will be split among a handful of Canadian producers and one Dutch company before Germany starts domestic production in 2020.


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