It appears that Israel will no longer become the leading medical marijuana exporter it had planned because President Trump told the Israeli Prime Minister he’s strongly against them exporting marijuana.
After Trump’s stern notice, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially put the country’s marijuana export project on hold while at a meeting with the ministers of agriculture, health and finance, reports The Jerusalem Post. Netanyahu said Trump contacted him and made his point clear: he’s firmly against Israel exporting marijuana.
Netanyahu told the meeting attendees that it would no longer be wise for Israel to continue with this venture. A solution could be to avoid exporting to the U.S., but Netanyahu doesn’t think it’s in the country’s best interest to export to anywhere at this time.
A committee of the Israeli Finance and Health Ministries approved the exportation of medical marijuana in August 2017. Finance Minister Moshe Kahloin said in August that, “The export of medical cannabis is an industry with significant economic potential for the State of Israel and will strengthen Israeli agriculture in general and agriculture in the Arava region in particular. It will serve as an opportunity for the country to exploit its relative advantage in developing medical products from medical cannabis.”
The committee determined that Israel has several advantages in the budding medical marijuana market, as far as advanced regulation, research and development, clinical experience and climate are concerned.
The committee recommended only permitting exporting to nations that allow the use of medical marijuana and allowing export-only from Israel.
Netanyahu’s decision has disturbed many growers and investors who have invested millions into the industry already.
It’s estimated that over 50 Israeli medical marijuana companies are invested in growing marijuana or producing marijuana-related products, like inhalers and skincare products, that they hoped to export worldwide. In 2016, international investors invested over $100 million into Israeli marijuana businesses.