Israel's newest industry, exporting medical marijuana, was approved Sunday by the cabinet, leading to a spate of profit-taking on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Local medical cannabis sales have been approved for some time, but the government decision theoretically opens new markets to Israeli companies that developed medical cannabis products, from leaves for doobies to oil (but not means to grow cannabis plants).
The bill, backed last month by parliament, allows companies approved by the health regulator and police to export medical cannabis to countries that permit its use. Israeli media said exports could start in as little as nine months.
The Finance Ministry has estimated the export potential of marijuana-based medical products at up to 4 billion shekels ($1.1 billion) a year, adding that it could generate jobs for growers and for entrepreneurs in medical and agricultural research.
Eight companies currently grow marijuana in Israel. Several have opened farms abroad to get an early start in the overseas market as export approvals from Israel had been deadlocked for so long.
“I am glad this is finally happening. It opens a very big market in Israel. The technology is here in Israel and until now we simply had to give the technology to other countries. Therefore, I am glad we can reap the profits here in Israel,” said Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.