JERUSALEM – An Israeli cannabis producer has announced a $110 million dollar deal to cultivate and produce medicinal cannabis for a European purchaser…assuming the country reverses a recent decision not to grant export licenses.
Medivie Therapeutic and its subsidiary High Pharma have set aside approximately 25 acres to grow, cultivate, and export about 50 tons of cannabis each year. The buyer’s identity has not been revealed.
The major obstacle arose last month, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze a plan to allow medical cannabis exports. Reports indicate the Trump administration pressured Netanyahu to scrap the export plan.
Many Israeli leaders continued to hope the exports would be approved.
“We must not miss the train,” Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked wrote in a Facebook post. “Today we are the locomotive. If we hesitate, we will become the trailers.
“I am sure that when we sit with the prime minister and we lay out for him all the details the correct decision will be taken,” Shaked added.
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel also has come out in favor of the exports.
“As we see it, it’s important to approve medical cannabis exports both to help people all over the world who are suffering and to contribute to government revenues,” Ariel told Haaretz. “The industry has the potential to generate billions of shekels for the country and help develop Israeli agriculture.”
Medivie remains hopeful Israeli authorities eventually allow the company to export cannabis, but a backup plan exists just in case. Chief Executive Officer Menachem Cohen said he would “not hesitate to transfer [the company’s] activity and knowledge to other countries if export from the State of Israel is prevented.”
If Medivie is unable to secure a location in Europe to produce medical-grade cannabis, then a clause in the $100-million contract allows the deal to be canceled.
Even if Netanyahu does not change his mind, a new prime minister might allow the deal to move forward — and that’s not a far-fetched scenario. Netanyahu currently is engulfed in a series of corruption scandals, and Israeli police have recommended bringing criminal charges against him.