Israel will likely allow exports of medical cannabis by the end of the year, Likud MK Yoav Kish announced on Thursday. The move that would boost state coffers and slow the growing number of Israeli firms establishing farms abroad.
Benefiting from a favorable climate and expertise in medical and agricultural technologies, local companies are among the world’s biggest producers of medical cannabis.
The finance and health ministries estimate exports could bring in about $1 billion a year, but Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and some lawmakers are opposed to Israeli-grown cannabis going abroad, fearing more cultivation could push more drugs onto the streets at home.
The government had sought to approve the exports, but efforts stalled last April after Erdan and other ministers raised objections and sought more money for monitoring growers of the substance.
Kish, chairman of the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, has since submitted a bill to allow exports that imposed tougher regulations on exporters and threatened jail terms and hefty fines for violations. His proposal passed its first of three votes in the plenum last week, and is back with Kish’s committee for revisions. [Read more at Haaretz]