The agriculture domain in Israel has always been a source of national pride for many years, but over the past two decades, there has been a significant decline in the industry’s profitability and prestige.
The development of the Israeli medical cannabis industry, as well as the discussion about the opening of the recreational market (legalization), aroused high hopes among local farmers who felt it was a great opportunity to save the business they love so much, and perhaps even to able to develop it in new and exciting directions.
But despite the high hopes, and even though there are already more than 13 approved companies cultivating the plant in Israel and a local industry which is quite developed, the country has become over the past year a super-power of cannabis importation.
In fact, today Israel stands in the first place in the world in importing the plant – “Weed World” magazine checked exactly which companies practice importation? How much cannabis they already imported and from which countries?
An intensive “Airbridge” of Cannabis
The first import of medical cannabis in Israel took place in January and was made by the “Canndoc” company, in a quantity of 250 kg at first, and more than 2 tons during the following months. The commodity came from the Canadian company “Tilray“, who is cultivating the plant in Portugal. The parties have agreed on the import of additional 5 tons until the end of 2020. The company’s director (and former Prime minister), Ehud Barak, published in his personal twitter account, a brief clip of the shipment arriving in the airport, and wrote, “I brought a quarter-ton of cannabis to Israel – want to see?”. Needless to say, the post aroused a lot of fuss in the social networks.
A month later (February) “Bazelet” company announced they have imported 400 kg of Cannabis from the Portuguese “Terra Verde” company, acquired since the – by “EMMAC” Which is engaged in the field of cannabis in Europe, in addition to cannabis from the “Fotmer” company in Uruguay. During the following months, these deliveries have reached around the 2 tons threshold.
In April, the “BOL” company also joined the celebration and began to import cannabis, the initial shipment was of 250 kg from the Canadian corporation “Supreme Cannabis“, followed by a second import of half a ton from the Canadian Cannabis company “HEXO“. during the coming months, BOL has continued importing hundreds of Kilos of cannabis, summing the total amount to about two tons.
That same month (April), the Israeli Cannabis company “Together” imported 250 Kg from a farm they own and manage in Uganda. the quantity had doubled since then to half a ton. A month later (May) the Israeli cannabis company “IMC” announced the import of 200 Kg from the Spanish cannabis company “Lineo“.
All in all, it seems like the volume of cannabis imported to Israel during 2020 will amount to nearly 10 tons, and counting.
“Israel must recalculate her route”
These figures put Israel in the first place in the world in the list of countries that import cannabis, passing the world leader in the last two years, Germany, whose market is based almost exclusively on imports, and during the past year has imported about 4 tons of cannabis.
Local Israeli farmers naturally do not like the idea of importing large quantities of cannabis, but they said the financial damage would not be so severe if the country would simultaneously allow them to export cannabis abroad, an issue that has been on the table for a few years now.
Among the main reasons that prevent Israeli farmers from exporting cannabis one could mention:
- Approval of uniform export standards – A problem that stems mainly from bureaucracy and internal struggles between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance.
- Shortage of local stock – During the past year, there were periods when patients in Israel experienced a severe shortage of cannabis. The Ministry of Health has announced that until there is not enough cannabis for the local market, no exports will be approved.
- Price – Following the reform carried out in the last two years in the field of medical cannabis in Israel, the price of cannabis has increased by nearly four times. The Ministry of Health demands local manufacturers to reduce prices before they start exporting.
Senior officials in the Israeli cannabis industry believe that local companies will not be able to hold a lot of time if imports continue: “domestic companies have spent millions on infrastructure and cultivation facilities,” says one of the officials to “Weed World” magazine, “at the outset, the country has ensured that there is no expectation of importing from abroad – and now we see tons of cannabis arrives to us from around the world. The state must recalculate her route if it wants the local cannabis industry to stand on its own two feet in the near future and be a respectable source of livelihood for Israelis .”
Published and Written by Ziv Genesove In Weed World Magazine Issue 148