Isreal is hoping to be a global leader in cannabis exports once legislation to legalize the export of qualified medical marijuana is completed next year. The Isreali parliament has already passed a preliminary reading of the legislation, reports Bloomberg, and the Ministry of Health plans to increase licenses for cannabis cultivation in the country from eight to fifty.
Of the 150 research proposals already approved by the ministry, 35 are clinical trials. Over 50 American companies are researching medical marijuana in Israel, with an investment of over $125 million in 2016 alone. The "medicinal formula developer" Breath of Life Pharma, which is supporting research into the effects of cannabis on autistic patients, even plans to apply to the United States Food & Drug Administration to reclassify cannabis as an "investigative new drug," which if passed would allow for import into the vast American market.
Israelis are hoping to position themselves to capitalize on an Israeli 'brand' of reliably high-quality cannabis grown by an advanced agricultural system originally designed to make the desert, literally, bear fruit. In a country where marijuana consumption is still technically illegal (although minor offenses often come with just fines and won't necessarily lead to criminal records), this is great news for a burgeoning national medical marijuana industry. It's also very positive news for the Israeli economy, according to a report done by an Israeli inter-ministerial team, which could see a $1 billion boost from sales to other countries that are already interested.