The Israeli government has reportedly issued seven new medical cannabis cultivation licences in a move that will triple the country’s annual production capacity.

Brlev Agricultural Crops, Elpis Flora, Medical Cannabis Growing, Natali Buskila, Rami Sela, S. Sydan and Shavit Agro are the seven firms given the green light to commence cultivation. They will be able to supply pharmacies across the country by the end of 2019, according to local reports.

The Israeli medicinal cannabis industry will be overhauled on Sunday, when new regulations come into effect. The idea is to stop marijuana producers selling direct to patients, requiring them to supply pharmacies that serve as middlemen instead.

Next month, Israeli marijuana producers must sell 10% of their output through the pharmacies. This figure has to increase by 10% each month and by January 2020 all cannabis must meet GMP standards and go through the official supply channels.

Producers and patients have lambasted the change, as it will mean prices must increase to ensure the pharmacies earn a health margin. Yet the government has added a sweetener by promising to prioritize medical cannabis export licences for the producers that fall in line quickest with the new regulations.

It claims the new supply chain will ensure higher standards of safety and quality, and it knows how desperate producers are to commence exports.

Yet patients fear supply shortages, as growers are forced to adhere to stricter standards in a short period of time, causing a logjam in the production process. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has convened an emergency meeting to discuss the matter next week, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also be involved.

Rivlin decided to act after watching videos featuring impassioned pleas from parents struggling to obtain the CBD oil needed to treat their children’s conditions.

Moshe Bar Siman Tov, director general at the Israeli Ministry of Health, said that supply shortages will soon be a thing of the past as more producers come on stream.

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