After waiting for almost a year, the Israeli government has finally allowed the export of cannabis from the country. 

Israel, one of the leaders in the global cannabis industry, is expecting to earn 1 billion shekels, or $273 million, from the sale of medical marijuana. 

What was taking so long?

Even though the government approved the export of cannabis in January, there were hiccups in the implementation of the decision due to months of political turmoil in the country.

Nevertheless, experts believe that there is more than mere political grid-lock at play. It is reported that the delay was caused in part by the US President, Donald Trump, asking the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, a close friend of his, to halt the exportation of cannabis from Israel

Whatever the reason, what started as an idea during the Obama administration, become a reality many years later. 

What is the relationship between Israel and cannabis?

Israel has been a key player in the cannabis industry for a long time. 

In fact, it was none other than Israeli scientists Raphael Mechoulam and Yehiel Gaoni who discovered, isolated, and synthesized many cannabinoids; primarily THC and CBD — the most popular and widely-used components of the cannabis plant to date. 

Israeli companies are also credited with the invention of the Syqe Inhaler, the first meter-dosed cannabis inhaler delivering standard pharmaceutical treatment. 

Last but not least, there are studies into using cannabis as a treatment for cancer at the Tel Aviv Cancer Biology Research Centre that are showing a lot of promise. 

Who are some of the key players on Israel’s cannabis market?

Tress Capital, a US-based private equity fund, is one of the companies that have high hopes for the Israeli cannabis industry. The company has been investing in CannaTech — a cannabis- and technology-focused summit — for six years straight and has recently invested in iCAN — an Israeli accelerator and service company that invests in cannabis products and solutions.

MedReleaf, owned by Canadian cannabis giant Aurora Cannabis, has an exclusive partnership with the Israeli cannabis company, Tikun Olam. This company has also signed an exclusive licensing agreement with San Juan-based iaso Corporation for the cultivation of their strains and distribution of Tikun Olam’s products.

Kanabo Research, an Israeli cannabis company, has been bought by Spinnaker Opportunities and is expected to go public on London’s main stock market in the first-ever listing of a cannabis company on the London Stock Exchange.

And that’s not all! The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange lists around 30 cannabis and cannabis-related companies as well.

What does the future hold?

Despite the government approval, analysts are skeptical as to the future of Israel’s cannabis export.  

There are still many hurdles to overcome, particularly in terms of meeting strict certification and auditing in European countries — the primary buyers of Israel’s medical cannabis. 

Experts estimate that it will take months before all regulations are met and Israel can finally move its products across borders.