High profile job

Ex-police chief takes post pushing medical cannabis worldwide

Yohanan Danino appointed chairman of Together Pharma, says marijuana can help patients suffering from a variety of ailments

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Yochanan Danino, incoming chairman of the board of directors for Together Pharma. (Together Pharma/PR)
Yochanan Danino, incoming chairman of the board of directors for Together Pharma. (Together Pharma/PR)

An Israeli medical marijuana producer announced Wednesday that it had appointed as chairman of its board former Israel Police commissioner Yohanan Danino, who had called for rethinking policy on recreational use of cannabis while he was still serving as the country’s top cop.

Together Pharma, which specializes in growing and distributing medical cannabis, said in a statement that Danino will lead “international business development activities, including the promotion of collaboration agreements with global players.”

“The medical cannabis market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world which provides significant opportunities for Together Pharma, certainly in view of the export approval from Israel,” Danino said in the statement. “The medical community, leading policymakers, and caregivers today fully admit that the medicinal benefits of the plant are unequivocal.

“Cannabis plant products provide a cure for patients daily, worldwide and in a wide variety of indications, whether they are patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, pain, autism, depression, post-trauma and more,” he added.

Nissim Bracha, CEO of Together Pharma, said that under Danino’s chairmanship of the board of directors the company will aim at “collaborating with leading players in the global medical cannabis industry.”

Then Israeli chief of police Yohanan Danino, February 11, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

Danino served as Israel Police commissioner from 2011 to 2015. He was also previously chairman of the Migdal Insurance company, one of the largest in the country.

While still filling the role of police chief, Danino called on the government to reassess its policies on the recreational use of marijuana. Noting the increasing calls for cannabis to be made legal, Danino said in 2015, “I think it’s time for the police, along with the state, to reevaluate its traditional position.”

In April 2018, Together said it had reached a binding agreement to sell five tons of cannabis oil to a Canadian company that it didn’t name. The deal could potentially yield revenue of hundreds of millions of shekels, the Israeli firm said at the time.

Israel is known as a pioneer in cannabis research, and there are government estimates that the economy could reap $285 million to $1.14 billion a year from the industry. An estimated 50 Israeli medical marijuana companies work in cultivating plants or producing delivery devices for the drug in Israel, according to Reuters.

Last month cabinet ministers approved the export of medical cannabis, paving the way for Israeli marijuana growers to begin international sales. With the approval Israel joined the Netherlands and Canada as nations allowing the legal export of medical cannabis.

Ehud Barak, the former prime minister, is also chairman of a medical cannabis firm, InterCure, which announced the appointment in September.

Shoshanna Solomon contributed to this report.

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