Israel to begin exporting marijuana soon — minister
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Israel to begin exporting marijuana soon — minister

Agriculture Ministry setting up facilities for research, development of growing cannabis for medical treatment

An Israeli agricultural engineer inspects marijuana plants at the BOL (Breath Of Life) Pharma greenhouse in the country's second-largest medical cannabis plantation, near Kfar Pines in northern Israel, on March 9, 2016. (Jack Guez/AFP)
An Israeli agricultural engineer inspects marijuana plants at the BOL (Breath Of Life) Pharma greenhouse in the country's second-largest medical cannabis plantation, near Kfar Pines in northern Israel, on March 9, 2016. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel on Sunday announced that Israel would begin exporting medical marijuana abroad, weeks after the government approved measures to make medical cannabis more easily accessible to patients in Israel.

“In two years we will have protocols in place that will allow farmers to grow cannabis,” Ariel told Israel Radio over the weekend, according to Israel’s online Hebrew-language magazine Cannabis.

“The Agriculture Ministry has set up specific areas for the research and trial of growing cannabis, a plant whose foremost use is the medical treatment of patients around the world,” he said.

Ariel said he intends to approve the request for exporting Israeli-grown medical marijuana abroad.

In June, the government approved a plan to ease restrictions on growing medical marijuana and make it more readily available to over 23,000 patients in Israel.

Minister Uri Ariel arrives at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on March 13, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
Minister Uri Ariel arrives at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on March 13, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

According to the legislation proposed by Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, there will be no limit on the number of approved growers, more doctors will be approved to issue prescriptions, and cannabis will be available in local pharmacies.

In recent months, the Justice Ministry began exploring the possibility of Israel decriminalizing the use of soft drugs such as cannabis. According to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, the new guidelines would see those caught using soft drugs fined, but not charged with a crime.

A report in Cannabis earlier this year said the bill would potentially decriminalize possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis for anyone over the age of 21. Those caught in their home with a “personal” amount of cannabis would pay a fine of NIS 300 ($78) and those caught in public would be fined NIS 1,500 ($390).

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