Written by Reuters
28 Jan, 2019 | 3:40 pm
Reuters-Israel’s cabinet approved on Sunday (January 27) a law to allow exports of medical cannabis in a move expected to boost state revenues and the agriculture sector, and which frustrates critics who fear it could lead to more recreational use of the drug.
The bill, backed last month by parliament, allows companies approved by the health regulator and police, like Pharmocann, an Israeli medical cannabis company in northern Israel, to export medical cannabis to countries that permit its use.
Israeli media said exports could start in as little as nine months.
Some lawmakers had tried to block the legislation, fearing more cultivation could push more drugs onto the streets at home.
Israeli companies – benefiting from a favourable climate and expertise in medical and agricultural technologies – are among the world’s biggest producers of medical cannabis.
The government estimates exports could raise tax revenue by 1 billion shekels ($273 million). At the same time, the bill imposes tough regulations on exporters and threatens jail terms and hefty fines for violations.
Shai Babad, Israeli Finance Ministry Director-General, said Israeli technology in medical cannabis significantly improves the lives of millions of people who use it as a permanent remedy.
Eight companies cultivate cannabis in Israel, many of which have opened farms abroad to get into the international market. Dozens of business owners have requested government authorization to export.
After jumping on Thursday ahead of the vote, most shares of cannabis producers were down on Sunday in Tel Aviv.
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