Israeli Ministerial Committee endorses Bill to export Medicinal Marijuana

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on February 13, 2017.

An Israeli Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday endorsed a draft bill to legalize the export of marijuana for approved medical use, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's office said in a statement.

The bill aims to regulate and enable the exportation of marijuana in response to global demands for the plant from medical marijuana researchers and business owners.

The initiator of the bill, MK Yoav Kisch, considered that the approval of his legislation could boost the Israeli agriculture industry. “Exporting medical cannabis is pushing forward the economy and developing the agricultural sector,” he said.

The measure, which may take months for the legislation to make its way through parliament, could generate an estimated 1 billion shekels ($267 million) per year for Israel, according to some projections.

Currently, marijuana is only allowed for medical use in Israel by special permission. Around 23,000 people have permits from Health Ministry to purchase medical marijuana from nine licensed suppliers, creating a market of $15 million to $20 million at most.

“Today there are eight companies growing [marijuana] in Israel and there are dozens more requests from business owners wanting to practice, pending the relevant bodies,” said a government statement announcing the vote.

Israel is widely regarded as one of the world leaders in medical marijuana research, even though the local market is small. Marijuana growers in the country work together with scientific institutions in clinical trials and development of strains that treat a variety of illnesses and disorders.

In January, Israel moved toward decriminalizing small-scale personal use of marijuana and authorities are supportive of research. Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman also supports medical marijuana usage and has introduced steps to ease its prescription and sale.

In the United States, as many as 28 states and District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, and since 2012, Colorado, Alaska, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, D.C. have also legalized marijuana for recreational purpose in their respective state.

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