Updated: Jan 15, 2020
The medical cannabis market, once an object of pride for Israel is being destroyed by unnecessary and harmful regulation.
Implemented in September, the new reform has so far resulted in market shortages and hiked prices with at least 5,000 patients with no medicine.
The goal of our overzealous bureaucrats and politicians was to standardize the industry production by requiring more "quality" control and forcing pharmacies to become middlemen between growers and patients. Those new regulations apply to all stages of production, storage, transportation, and distribution of medical cannabis.
As one could have predicted but to the surprise of the Health Ministry, more regulations made production cost higher for the growers and quickly led to price hikes and shortages leaving thousands of patients with little cannabis or/and "cash empty pockets. In order to keep the rising medical cannabis price, the Ministry of Health decided to promote price control against the treasury recommendations. The treasury warned that price controls can actually hurt competition and even expel players from the field - which could lead to more shortages and price jumps.
As the crisis mounted and the stocks of cannabis sold in pharmacy were almost empty, growers petition the High Court to be allowed to produce cannabis under the old less stringent regulation but the Ministry of Health continued its bizarre and hurtful policies and threatened growers of losing their license if they don't comply with the new regulations.
As a good soviet union textbook, the Ministry decided to force producers to sell at the old price, without taking into consideration the extra cost of the regulations they themself forced on the producers!
Since September, this strange dance is being played between, the Health Ministry, the Treasury, and the patients are suffering.
The producers are trying to find a compromise that would allow them to make profits and continue supplying medical cannabis to patients. They asked to be given export permits, so they can grow large quantities of cannabis and market them at high prices abroad. To reinforce their demand, they mention that in fact, the Israeli government had already approved the export of cannabis about a year ago, but the Ministry of Health that is still preventing them from doing so. The growers are willing to leave a certain percentage of supplies to the domestic market, even without profit or with little profit, if they are allowed to make money on the international market.
As of today, no compromise had been reached and the patients are still suffering from shortages and higher prices.