Israel starved of cannabis export opportunities after import requirements are reinforced

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Quality requirements for medical cannabis imports in Israel are being amended to ensure consumer safety and Government satisfaction. Domestic licensed producers were recently alerted about the news by the Israeli Ministry of Health, which prides itself on ensuring the health of the population.

“In the coming days” Israeli authorities are expected to begin reviewing quality certificates of all suppliers who are hoping to export to Israel. The information was released in an email tailored to the attention of “importers”. It was written by Tal Lavy of the Ministry of Health’s pharmaceutical division.

Also noted in the Israeli authority’s email dated September 16 was a section stating that imports from Uruguay would be temporarily halted. The reason why Israel won’t be receiving medical cannabis flower from the South American country is because the authority reportedly “received a notice from the competent authority in Uruguay that they will not be able to issue export permits for medical cannabis according to our requirements.”

Israel’s foreign medical cannabis exporters will require quality certificates

As per the new rules, foreign companies that wish to export their medical cannabis products in Israel will first need to verify that they have received licensing from their respective national authorities. Based on language contained in the email, quality certificates must be obtained by overseas producers and shown to the Ministry of Health.

One such example of licensing that Israel’s medical cannabis exporters must prove is EU-GMP approval or equivalent to prove that their post-harvesting facility is up to scratch with the latest health and safety regulations. While many exporters already have this certification, a big chunk do not; something that could lead to a deficit of medical cannabis being imported into the country.

Israel’s updated requirements for medical cannabis exports have certainly put a spanner in the works for overseas exporters. Even though the South American government recently approved regulations to facilitate Uruguay’s exporting activities, Israel’s new rules mean that medical cannabis patients must be served with products sourced from elsewhere.

Deputy secretary of the Uruguayan presidency, Rodrigo Ferres, responded to the notice by describing the communication from Uruguay to Israel as “an unfortunate mistake that shouldn’t have happened and that doesn’t represent the Uruguayan government position, nor is it aligned with recently approved regulations to facilitate cannabis exports.”

Quality strengthening may cause difficulty for medical cannabis exports in Israel

Earlier in 2020, Israel made the cannabis industry news for becoming the world’s number one exporter of medicinal-grade flower. This could soon change, however, due to the updated quality requirements for medical cannabis imports in Israel.

On the plus side, Israel Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch have just confirmed that a new subsidy program has just launched. First reported by The Jerusalem Post, the program will specifically slash the cost of medical cannabis products until the end of the year. Not only this, but it will enable Israeli producers to export their products, thus boosting domestic production.