There are many reasons why Israel finds itself at the forefront of the cannabis industry – specifically cannabidiol or CBD – the chemical compound found in plants that can relieve anxiety, some seizures, and pain. The middle eastern country – which is about the size of the State of New Jersey – is home to the world’s largest facility for medical cannabis. Farmers across the nation are producing so much that Israel is poised to become a top global exporter of CBD. “We’ll be able to produce more cannabis here than the entire state of Colorado,” one cultivator told Rolling Stone magazine, which called Israel a “medical weed wonderland” back in 2017.
Stockhouse readers and investors are aware of Israeli cannabis companies like Aura Heath Inc (C.BUZZ, Forum), Isracann Biosciences Inc. (C.IPOT, Forum), Global Cannabis Applications (C.APP, Forum), along with Abacus Health Products, Inc. (C.ABCS, Forum). These companies have been medical trailblazers in developing the science of CBD wellness and its many therapeutic properties.
And at present, the country is simply producing more than it needs. Not surprisingly, Israel has passed a law allowing for the exportation of medical cannabis. Many see the process starting as early as 2020, instantly expanding the market for Israeli-made CBD products to millions of people overnight.
Israel: The “Silicon Valley of Medical Marijuana”
Many cannabis investors may already think that they know how this process works. But they may want to think again, as the Israeli business model is a reboot of the existing North American version.
First, in Israel, a would-be cannabis cultivator obtains a parcel of land and constructs (or acquires) an agricultural facility suitable for cannabis cultivation. Then, the cannabis company begins the regulatory process to obtain a cannabis cultivation license.
On July 19th 2018, the Israeli Knesset finally approved the bill for decriminalization of cannabis. The law went into place on April 1st, 2019. Interestingly, a survey in 2017 found that 27% of Israelis between the ages of 18 and 65 had consumed cannabis in the last year, the highest rates of annual cannabis usage in the world.
Thus, not surprisingly, Israel is at the forefront of the science and cultivation of cannabis, producing some of the purest strains of medical marijuana in the world.
And an article in The Jerusalem Post from August 2018 suggests that Israel and Canada are a natural partnering fit in the blossoming international export cannabis space.
The struggle for the recognition of the medicinal qualities of cannabis go as far back as the mid 1990’s, headed by iconic Israeli cannabis activist Shlomi Sendak, beginning with his published book called “Esev Hasadeh: Marijuana, the 21st Century Miracle Drug.”
Following its publication, Sendak was interviewed on a prime-time Israeli television show while rolling and lighting a joint – that moment is considered the official starting signal for the strive for the legalization of cannabis in Israel.
In 2009, due to severe back problems, Sendak obtained a permit to treat himself with medical cannabis.
As a result, he founded the Israeli Medical Cannabis Clinic, in which he helped thousands of Israeli patients to obtain a medical cannabis permit.
Saul Kaye CEO & Founder iCAN, an Israel-based accelerator and services company that invests in cannabis products and solutions says, “Israel is doing more research than anywhere else in the world. We have destigmatised and we have an approach to medicalizing cannabis, rather than legalizing cannabis”
Today, Israeli entrepreneurs are producing high-value products, patents, and delivery platforms that make Israel a world leader in the sector.
In time, the most successful of Israel’s medical cannabis companies will be able to increase their valuation by listing their shares in overseas markets.
That said, investing in cannabis stocks is not the same as betting on bitcoin. The global market for cannabis, both medical and adult-use, is already growing exponentially beyond Canada’s progressive shores. The gamble isn’t on the cannabis market, but on which companies will succeed in it.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Aura Heath Inc., Isracann Biosciences Inc. and Abacus Health Products. are clients of Stockhouse Publishing.
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