Israel stands to become global cannabis leader with adult-use legalization

Israel’s existing medical cannabis sector is likely to gain some serious momentum if the Middle Eastern country legalizes adult-use cannabis.

Regulations released by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar in February would fully decriminalize the plant. Sa’ar’s pending legislation would serve as a catalyst for Israel economy as a whole.

The proposed legislation decriminalizes cannabis consumption by consumers and expunges the criminal records of former cannabis convicts depending on the type of crime committed.

Why should cannabis industry players keep a close eye on the Israeli market?

This year has already been significant in terms of medical cannabis imports, with Israel welcoming an influx of exports since the beginning of 2022. Industry experts believe this to be “bullish” sign of things to come.

Israel surpassed the European country of Germany in 2020 when it celebrated a global milestone for medical cannabis flower imports. This is based on data compiled by the Israeli Cannabis Magazine and Marijuana Business Daily.

In comparison with Canada, Israel is positioned much closer to the European Union, where cannabis reform is spreading rapidly. The EU represents an opportunity for Israel to capitalize on long-term cannabis exports.

Another appeal of Israel’s cannabis market is the desirable climate in which the plant is grown. The country’s climate is ideal for growing cannabis and many producers are yielding crops for under $0.40 per gram.

Let’s not forget about the fact that Israel is regarded as a global medical cannabis research hub, too. Israel’s image has been majorly strengthened by the research and development efforts that take place across the country, which is home to the “Godfather of cannabis research,” Dr. Raphael Mechoulam.

Mechoulam was the man responsible for isolating cannabis’ psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) back in 1964.

What would happen if Israel completely decriminalizes cannabis?

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar signed a regulation on Wednesday, March 9 to decriminalize cannabis. The new law, which is expected to be approved imminently by the Knesset (the Israeli parliament,) will the effectuated immediately on its passing.

Based on the newly proposed law to decriminalize cannabis in Israel, plant possession and personal consumption would only be punishable by an administrative fine. Plus, former cannabis convicts could file a request for their records to be expunged.

Sa’ar decided to push forward with the regulations after he deduced that the Knesset would be unlikely to pass former Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn’s full decriminalization reform measure, which was presented to lawmakers in November 2020.