Just six months ago, Israel had barely approved the importing of medical cannabis. Now, they’ve officially become the worlds largest cannabis importer.
Medical cannabis was a long-fought battle in Israel. The use of medical cannabis drugs was only legalised in early 2019, with the first exports starting in late 2019. Despite this, the market for the drugs grew almost overnight, with over 46,000 registered Israeli patients by the end of last year.
With a new market, came a new demand. According to data gathered by Israels Marijuana Business Daily, Israel has imported over six metric tons of medical cannabis flower into the country.
For comparison, the world’s last largest international importer was Germany. According to documents presented at a German parliamentary inquiry, the country imported around three metric tons of medical cannabis by the end of May. Interestingly, that’s half the size of what Israel acquired in June alone.
However, these numbers may have more to do with Germany’s declining importing needs than Israel’s industry growth. As Germany is expected to have its first medical cannabis crops ready at the end of 2020, their importing may stay at 600 kilograms a month going forward. Meanwhile, Israel’s medical cannabis industry is still in its early stages, with patients hooked on imported hash and local suppliers unable to compete with powerful global cannabis companies.
According to the Marijuana Business Daily’s original report:
Patients have been exposed to goods from Europe and Canada, and will not want to settle for less. Israeli growers must meet the standard to profit.
While Australia’s cannabis market will be worth $1.5 billion by 2024 neither Israel nor Germany’s supply of cannabis is coming from us. Instead, they are importing from Uruguay, Canada, Portugal, Uganda and Spain.
Like Australia, these countries can grow medical cannabis with the perfect blend of dry-sunshine and humidity. But unlike Australia, strict nanny-state exporting regulations aren’t applied to their industries, allowing companies to trade as they please.
The future of Australia’s medical cannabis industry could look like Israel’s or Germany’s. Either our industry regulations bind us to a future of imported cannabis until we break free, or our favourable climate allows us to join Canada as a world-class exporter of cannabis.
You can read more about the development of Australia’s medical cannabis industry here.