Israeli firm Canndoc (TASE: INCR) has announced a deal that will see it import 2.5 tonnes (2,500 kg) of medical cannabis from Tilray’s facility in Portugal.

The first shipment of 250 kg is already en route to Israel and Canndoc will sell it on to Israeli pharmacies as a finished product. It said that it is the first medical marijuana that has ever been commercially imported to Israel.

It marks the first stage of a strategic cooperation between Canndoc and Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) for the import and export of medical cannabis.

Israel bills itself as a global research and development and innovation leader with a long history of pioneering exciting new medical cannabis tech and products. It recently legalized exports and it is bidding to become a leader in the global cannabis trade, and it is trying to attract overseas investors to help it reach that goal.

However, it is not currently producing enough cannabis to meet domestic demand, and it has had to turn to imports. “With a supply shortage of medical cannabis in Israel, it’s incredibly important to partner with a trusted company like Tilray to import and distribute GMP-certified medical cannabis to physicians, pharmacies and patients across the country,” said Canndoc chairman Ehud Barak.

Barak is the former Israeli Prime Minister, and he also chairs Canndoc’s parent company, InterCure. Another former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, has since become a professional advisor to cannabis firm Univo Pharmaceuticals Ltd after investing it, while many more leading public figures have moved into the industry.

Portugal also harbours aspirations of becoming one of the world’s largest cannabis producers, with facilities eligible for Project of National Interest status. Last year Tilray doubled the size of its workforce to 200 in Portugal, and it also began exporting to Germany via a wholesale agreement with distributor Cannamedical Pharma GmbH.

Israel is Tilray’s 15th export country and the firm said that it marks “a historic moment” for the whole industry. It has agreed to purchase up to 5 tonnes (5,000 kg) of cannabis from Canndoc in mid-2020.

The whole flower will be shipped to Tilray’s Portugal facility and turned into GMP-certified finished product to distribute across Europe, provided Israel decides to permit that. If not, the whole flower will be turned into finished medical cannabis and distributed as a Tilray-Canndoc branded GMP-certified finished product in Israel to further support local supply needs.

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