Israel aims to be the world’s leading cannabis tech hub, and others might follow
It takes courage, intellectual expertise, an innovative spirit, and an entrepreneurial vision to build a nation from a desert. Israel, which has created a homeland in the Middle East after thousands of years of exile, is now applying that same principle to a highly promising industry that only a few dare touch (at least for now): medical marijuana. The small but determined nation is showing its characteristic resoluteness to become the cannabis tech center—aka cannatech—of the world. Given the projection that the cannabis industry will generate $21.8 billion in revenues by 2020, other countries that are showing a little caution now just might follow them into this new promised land in very near future.
Although many states are studying and fast-tracking bills that will legalize the cultivation and use of marijuana for medical and recreation purposes, only four actually allow it, including Oregon and Washington. The restraint of US federal law contrasts sharply with the strides that Israel has done in decades in nurturing, developing, and distributing medical marijuana within the safe confines of the law and with great health benefit to the customer. According to Quartz, the use of cannabis for medical treatment has been approved and is being implemented since 1993. It is classified as a prescription drug, which 22,000 Israeli patients currently avail of freely and without fear. Epilepsy and osteoporosis are among the conditions being treated with cannabis, without inducing the so-called “high” that instinctively scares off the uninformed.
Medical and scientific research of cannabis, including clinical trials, is also permitted by law in Israel.
The one factor that is limiting the growth of the industry in Israel is scale. There are only eight farms producing cannabis and 7 million people who can either become potential test subjects, patients, customers, and investors. Because it is illegal to transport the drug, plants, and seeds overseas, Israel’s cannabis companies are luring foreign investors in who cannot only provide seed money but open international markets by marketing and distributing the product through their own firms.
Eli Gordis, the co-founder of the private equity firm Alta Fund, explains the goal he shares with many of his colleagues, “ … to find companies that are using what has been going on here in the last 10 to 20 years, and finding companies in the States that are selling to the medical or recreational markets that really want to tap into the kind of plant-breeding methods that have been done here.”
The Israeli cannabis champion might find allies in certain organizations in the US which are also keen in developing their states to become the next cannatech hub. The Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts can become a major player in the next few years if its voters give a green thumbs up to a proposed law advocating the legalization of cannabis. With recreational marijuana alone earning $996 million for the state in 2015, a thriving cannahub that would service both the medical and entertainment aspects of the drug would stand to earn more than $1.1 billion in 2020.
Breitbart says that the once economically embattled city of Adelanto may experience a resurgence with the legalization of medical marijuana in the state of California. The granting of permits to more than 20 companies to develop cannabis has already arrested bankruptcy. The state has earned more than $200,000 in application fees and another $12 million in tax revenues. The now-enthused citizens of Adelanto are anticipating an increase in property value and employment once the cannabis farms actually start operations.
More doors may open to other cities that may want to establish their own cannahubs with the crowdfunding campaign launched by Med-X Inc.,a health and wellness company that grows and develops its own brand of cannabis for medical purposes. Quality control passes the most rigorous of standards, and the company has employed dozens of scientists, physicians, farmers, and other professionals who understand the plant, grasp its advantages, and are motivated to make other people benefit from its advantages.
The Nevada-based company has poured in time, effort, and funding into research and development. An increase in investment will lead to more growth, the enhancement of distribution, and the spread of information that can educate the public about the advantages of cannabis. It can also spur the invention of breakthrough products like the pest-free soil that is instrumental in making Med-X Inc.’s cannabis healthier and more robust than the average plant.
A more informed public can bring in the numbers that Israeli’s cannabis producers and their colleagues around the world are hoping for. Research can lead to the birth of treatments that can address illnesses. The boom can generate jobs and strengthen ancillary industries like pharmaceuticals transportation, agriculture, and perhaps even tourism.
Israel has pioneered the path and, following legalization, other countries just might carry the cannatech torch, lighting new industrial and economic spots that can bring financial benefits and health rewards to the enterprising.