We reported a couple weeks ago about how Israel made the radical move of decriminalizing cannabis nationwide, and it appears that the move was definitely not a fluke. Israel has doubled down on their dedication to marijuana by now approving preliminary permits for 37 proposed medical marijuana cultivation facilities.
Medical Marijuana has been legal in Israel since the ‘90s, but with special sanctions surrounding the drug, cannabis cultivation didn’t truly start in Israel until a 2011 resolution established the country’s Medical Cannabis Unit. But in the six years since, Israel has granted permits for just eight cannabis production facilities.
A 2016 resolution added more regulations to the industry and opened the door for more permitted canna-businesses, but that still hasn’t resulted in any new grow-ops. As a result, Hagit Weinstock, an Israeli cannabis attorney, entered the picture and petitioned the local government and police to do their jobs and perform security checks on would-be cannabis producers.
Weinstock’s pressure paid off, as 37 farmers were recently awarded preliminary permits to construct facilities for cannabis cultivation. The farmers are not yet officially sanctioned to grow or possess marijuana, but if all goes according to plan, they would more than quadruple the size of the country’s cannabis industry.
“On one hand, I am happy and proud that we reached this day on which the government and the Israel Police are honoring the judgment we received and confirmed that dozens of our clients can establish farms for the production of cannabis for medical purposes,” Weinstock told the Jerusalem Post.
“But on the other hand, I am troubled that it required long legal battles to force the government to open the market for the growth and production of medical cannabis and then to compel the Israel Police to act in accordance with the government decision,” Weinstock added.
Israeli police claim that the reason they weren’t performing the checks because was because they didn’t possess the necessary resources, but certainly seemed able to obtain find them quickly after Weinstock’s court petition.
With Israel already leading the way in some aspects of medical marijuana research, adding almost 40 new cultivation centers would presumably only increase the country’s standing as one of the world’s primary cannabis research destinations.
The farmers still need to win permission from the state and police to start actually cultivating cannabis, but the preliminary permits are certainly a good start - proving once again that Israel is dedicated to cannabis, and that the country’s advocates won’t be deterred in efforts to expand the local industry.