Israeli lawmakers have given final approval to a law allowing farmers to export medical cannabis, parliament announced Wednesday, a move expected to generate significant revenue for the government.
The law passed Tuesday stipulates that cannabis growers must obtain a Health Ministry license, with police providing approval and monitoring producers and investors.
The medical cannabis export market was expected to generate government income of a billion shekels ($265 million, 234 million euros) per year.
Yoav Kisch of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, who penned the law, highlighted its “huge economic potential” for the state and farmers, calling medical cannabis “a blessed product that eases the suffering of the sick.”
There are currently eight Israeli companies growing medical cannabis, with many more awaiting to receive permission, said a statement from parliament.
In 2016 Israel approved the use of medical cannabis, and last year the Public Security Ministry partially decriminalized marijuana use, imposing fines and treatment for initial use instead of criminal procedures.
Israeli producers were expected to begin exporting within six months, according to iCAN, an Israel-based firm promoting medical cannabis technologies.
Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN, called the law “long overdue but welcome.”
In a statement, he said, “Israel, already the most advanced nation in cannabis R&D, will now be able to produce and market cannabis and cannabis-based products that will help millions of people suffering from illnesses.”
Nearly two dozen countries have legalized medical marijuana use. Canada and Uruguay have fully legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational use.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse