New cannabis laws that were passed in Israel on April 1 decriminalize recreational cannabis. This means that people found with small amounts of cannabis will be fined instead of facing criminal charges if those individuals don’t have a license to use medical cannabis.
The day when adult-use marijuana was decriminalized was also the day when the fourth edition of the annual CannaTech conference was held in Tel Aviv. Ehud Barak, a former Israel premier, spoke eloquently at the CannaTech conference about the immense benefits of medical cannabis. He went as far as saying that the Israeli motto may be updated to “the land of milk, honey and cannabis.”
Why would Ehud Barak deliver a keynote address at a cannabis conference? It so happens that the former premier is the chairman of an Israeli medical marijuana company called Canndoc/Intercure.
Barak joins a growing list of politicians who previously opposed cannabis but are now ardent advocates. He joins the likes of former speaker of Congress, John Boehner. Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, also changed from being a kingpin in the fight against marijuana to calling for an overhaul of prohibitionist marijuana laws.
Ehud Barak pointed out during his keynote address that the future of marijuana belonged to the bigger and more assertive players who would “swiftly enter the cannabis market.”
He was referring to the decision of the Israeli parliament that passed a law in December last year paving way for Israeli companies to export medical marijuana. This law positioned Israel to be one of the biggest players in the international marijuana industry.
Barak also talked about Israeli cannabis companies like Tikun Olam (a Hebrew expression meaning “repair the world”) that already had a major stake in the cannabis market. This company alone commands an estimated 40 percent share of the global medical cannabis industry.
His statements should not be taken lightly, because major milestones, such as the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in humans, can be traced to Israeli doctors or researchers.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health in Israel has revealed that more than 550 farms in the country have submitted their applications for licenses to grow medical cannabis. There is no guessing which market these cultivators are eyeing, since the local market cannot utilize all the cannabis grown by these farms.
Israel has a short list of qualifying conditions for which patients can get a prescription for medical marijuana. These include epilepsy, Parkinson’s, cancer and many other terminal illnesses. Most of the medical cannabis grown in Israel is therefore likely to be headed out of the country.
MustGrow Biologics Corp. and Net Element, Inc. (NASDAQ: NETE) congratulate Israel upon taking the important step of decriminalizing recreational cannabis. The next step should now be full legalization.
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