Israel’s cannabis market is moving towards promising recreational reform
Israel’s cannabis market is finally moving into the recreational box this year. At some point this year, if all goes as planned, the country will introduce a recreation system for adults over the age of 21. On one side of the US state market, deliveries will be allowed, although cannabis foods that resemble candy will be banned. There will also be government price controls to ensure customers don’t return to illegal sales channels.
However, smoking cannabis in public remains prohibited (therefore no cafes or clubs are allowed). Growing homes without a license is also still prohibited.
Workplace discrimination is also expected to be reviewed, especially for those in need of background checks (particularly noticeable given the quick and rather embarrassing reversal of the Biden administration earlier this year).
This is a big step for the Israeli cannabis market – but it has been in the works for a while. In the meantime, medical cannabis has at least become “mainstream” and is now widely used in national drug stores. Regular doctors can prescribe cannabis to treat a variety of conditions.
Why is this a significant development for the Israeli cannabis market and beyond?
The first interesting aspect is that Israel will once again be one step ahead – this time in the leisure sector – while two European countries (Luxembourg and Switzerland) prepare for their own leisure programs next year.
In other words, what is happening in Israel is being closely monitored and analyzed, at least in these two federal government-run programs, in a region where recreational reform is increasingly an issue on the national agendas of several countries, even if it is not yet is at a point of critical mass.
On top of that, of course, there is the United States, where recreational reform is increasingly becoming a political football that the White House and everyone who lives there cannot avoid.
But given the timing, if not the advances of this century, it is difficult even for die-hard adversaries to continue to oppose the advancement of the obvious. Starting in the country of birth of the formal cannabinoid test itself.
Israel’s cannabis market is the oldest in the world. It was created after the Second World War. Israel was started by Holocaust survivor Raphael Mechoulam and was largely funded by American research grants (while the same type of scientific investigation was banned in the US). Israel became the world leader in cannabinoid research at a time when no other country allowed even preliminary basic research to study the plant and its chemical constituents.
During the first decade of this century, Israel also began to introduce trials involving the use of cannabinoids to treat brain injuries and PTSD, particularly in soldiers. This was notable for several reasons, including because it occurred at a time when there was no established treatment in the US for traumatic brain injury, or TBI – also known as the “signature wound” of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
By 2014, families of sick children who had no access to the drug threatened the Israeli government to immigrate to Colorado for treatment unless broader reforms were passed. The government changed its policy within a few weeks.
Since then, medical reform in the country itself has gradually expanded to become more mainstream. As of December 2020, the Israeli cannabis market also moved into the medical export column (although this, too, has been controversial, starting with the availability of drugs to the indigenous population).
The final move of this still highly religious and conventional country to the recreation area is also a sign that the rest of the world is currently hardly being held back – with the exception of political objections.
Why is the globalization of Israeli medical research important?
It is unlikely that there is a country in the world that does not currently benefit from Israeli expertise – neither on the cultivation nor on the technical side of the discussion. That includes news from early April that an Israeli seed company opened a hemp farm in San Diego and less than a week later that an Israeli medical cannabis supplier exported two tons of cannabis to Australia. There are also increasing imports of Israeli cannabis and cannabinoid drugs in Europe.
In addition, a silent revolution is underway on another front as well – particularly at Growtech. Systems for low water and electricity generation are becoming increasingly necessary – and not only in California, but also in Africa. Israeli innovations in smart agriculture, which apply to cannabis in general, will almost certainly play a role in all future developments around the world, including GMP.
Cannabis is the first culture to become widespread domestically – and therefore it may become one of the leading experimental crops in terms of smarter growing strategies in general as the world becomes increasingly polluted and less suitable for conventional agriculture today.
In other words, the seeds of change planted in a nation formed by refugees at the end of World War II are finally blowing worldwide. And the world will never be the same again.