As California prepares for the era of legal marijuana, Israel is emerging as a potential overseas partner in new cannabis-related enterprises.
As a report in Sunday’s New York Times notes, Israel has been a leader in medical research into the benefits of marijuana, and is currently conducing more clinical trials than the United States, which one Israeli expert called “ridiculous.” With California and other jurisdictions legalizing marijuana cultivation, Israel is moving to expand it abroad.
The new expansion, ironically, is being led by Israel’s ultra-Orthodox health minister, who is lifting restrictions that had limited the number of growers in the country to eight.
Along with increased awareness of the benefits of the drug, revenues to the government are driving interest in expanding medicinal marijuana cultivation. Marijuana is still illegal in Israel, except for medicinal uses, but the country is considering using its research edge to market the product — for medical use — overseas.
There are concerns, writes the Times‘ Isabel Kurshner: “Some of Israel’s more traditional medical institutions and associations are still averse to joining the party, a wariness that marijuana advocates put down to a lack of knowledge. The police worry about leakage into the recreational black market, and some Israelis are concerned that export, if allowed, would stigmatize the country as one that dealt primarily in arms and drugs.”
However, other Israelis are also enthusiastic about the drug’s potential.
In California, Israelis already contribute significantly to agriculture. Drip irrigation technologies pioneered by Israel are used in drought-stricken regions of the state, and Israeli entrepreneurs also participate directly in farming — particularly of produce such as pistachios, which Israelis consume in greater quantities per capita than any other nation.
Israeli technology is also being used in desalination, notably in a new plant in Carlsbad that could be the first of many such plants in the Golden State.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.