The first shipment of medical cannabis was exported this week from Israel to England. This first symbolic shipment, cutting through the export ban, was highly publicized in coordination with the public authorities. The government had already approved the export of medical cannabis three years ago, but it was delayed until now by the regulators.
Is this symbolic export a sign that our government is taking a more "laissez-faire" approach? Not exactly.
The local market is currently suffering from substantial shortages (see this post) due to increased regulation. Many Israeli patients wondered why this cannabis wasn't sold on the local market to alleviate the shortage.
As criticism grew, the ministry of health choose to defend his decision solely on humanitarian grounds; the shipment is intended exclusively for the treatment of autistic children in a UK medical center. This cowardly reaction by the ministry still made an important statement "it is allowed to export cannabis for humanitarian reasons." Is there any medical cannabis that isn't humanitarian?
Hopefully, the government will be able to clarify its intentions fast enough for Israeli exporters to become world leaders in this industry. Regulatory delays in this rapidly growing market works against Israel in becoming a dominant player along with Canada and the Netherlands.
* The picture shows a screenshot of Channel 12 coverage during the daily news hour.