Agriculture Minister Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu) said this morning at a conference of the Calcalist newspaper that the medical cannabis unit (HIKR) in the Ministry of Health should be dismantled.
According to Forer, "The most significant point for the cannabis market, if you look at the crops in Israel and where they are supposed to be marketed, is the export. The local market is not the one we need to grow for. There is unusual export potential because of the knowledge in Israel. Instead of encouraging it, they set up the 'medical cannabis blocking unit.' This unit should just be dismantled."
He added, "It is not possible to take an area that has unusual export potential and simply block it." He added that he had spoken with Nitzan Horowitz, the Minister of Health, so that the barriers for exporting to countries can be lifted. "It will be possible to do this later on by lowering deregulating and letting the market work," he said.
He added that "I have signed a law that would define cannabis as organic even though it is grown on a substrate. We produce standards for pesticides to facilitate the cultivation, but ironing out potential hiccups is the main task."
Regarding standards outlined by the director of the Yuval Landshaft (IMC-GMP), these are not recognized as comparable to European standards EU-GMP, which is one of the main reasons why Israeli cannabis cannot be exported to Europe.
On legalization, Forer said that "the cannabis market is a much more complex matter than just legalization. There is a large range between blocking the market completely and full legalization. Rather, we are stepping up a more correct path. "Research, exports, industry and what it can sell and in the field of private consumption should focus on the resources that the government and the police invest in pursuing the individual user."
"According to Minister Forer, the director general of the Ministry of Economy, Ron Malka, also joined in, saying at the conference that we are going through section by section to understand what the regulatory requirements are in terms of the restriction on industry. We are examining where we can improve regulation. The goal is to create a match between the Israeli standard and the international standard. What is good for Americans and Europeans is good for us too. This step will mean billions of dollars and the growth of an entire industry."
Malka also spoke on the subject of CBD. "We aim for it to be approved by the end of the current year, December 2021. "
It is not clear at this stage whether CBD will be legal only in imports from abroad, and only as a molecule in itself, or whether it will be decided as in Europe that all cannabis is legal as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC.
Regarding the CBD, the Ministry of Health told that "an internal team will be set up to submit conclusions soon." The Ministry of Economy told that Malka's remarks may not have been understood correctly and his intention was that the issue would be "examined by the end of the year" and not necessarily approved by the end of the year.