The Israeli Knesset, or Parliament, gave its final approval to a long-awaited, controversial law to allow the export of medical marijuana abroad, joining the Netherlands and Canada as nations in allowing the legal export of medical cannabis.
Among the countries eager to trade with Israel include Australia, Germany, Austria and Mexico, according to Forbes.
“Israel is perfectly positioned to enter and disrupt the medical cannabis market that is expected to soar to $33 billion worldwide in the next 5 years,” Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN, an Israeli medical cannabis company, said in a statement. “In Israel alone, we quickly expect over $1 billion in sales to countries interested in our products.”
Lawmakers voted 21-0 late on Tuesday, Dec. 26, in favor of the bill, which still needs approval from the cabinet, a step that’s seen as a formality, then to be signed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
There are eight cannabis growing companies operating in Israel and several others involved in production, marketing and distribution. Dozens of other farmers hold licenses to grow cannabis, but have delayed planting as the export legislation has been considered.
Kaye called the law “long overdue,” noting that Israel is among the most advanced nations in the world in terms of cannabis research and development.
Now, the Israeli state will be able to produce and market cannabis and cannabis-based products around the world to people “suffering from illnesses including cancer, MS, Parkinson’s, sleep disorders, epilepsy, and PTSD, to name just a few,” said Kaye.
Exports would not begin for at least six months.