A long history of cannabis discoveries and research has put Israel at the forefront of medical cannabis developments, worldwide collaborations, and investor activity.
Israel is the 154th largest country in the world, slightly larger than New Jersey, and home to about 9 million people (1). With about 24% agriculture land, it doesn’t have much available for building cultivation operations. But the country does have 320 days of sunshine a year, making it an ideal choice for outdoor grows.
According to The Times of Israel (2), 780 farmers received preliminary approval to begin preparations for growing cannabis; five farmers have been approved to cultivate 22 acres of cannabis; and 18 other farmers are in the final stages of the process.
A November 2018 survey by Globes, an Israeli business daily (3), found that there are now 12 cannabis-related companies trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, with more than 100 companies active in this area. Cannabis growing companies cited in the report include grower Tikun Olam; BOL (Breath of Life), which is distributing products it produces through a pharmaceutical company Rafa; Canndoc; Seach; Pharmacann; Better Cannabis; IMC; Teva Adir; and Cannabliss.
Israel’s power position in the medical cannabis industry has come as a surprise to some who believed that the U.S. led any and all developments. But the country has quickly become a giant player in medical cannabis, in part because of early government-backed research in the 1990s that led to a steady stream of intellectual property developments coming from the country’s cannabis scientists. Now Israel is seeking to lock in their lead by ramping up both production facilities and clinical operations as it garners more and more international recognition.
About the Author
David Hodes is the former managing editor of Cannabis Science and Technology. He has written for many cannabis publications, and organized or moderated sessions at national and international cannabis trade shows. He was voted the 2018 Journalist of the Year by Americans for Safe Access, the world’s largest medical cannabis advocacy organization. Direct correspondecen to: [email protected]