The Israeli cabinet is expected to sign off legislation permitting the export of medicinal marijuana at its weekly meeting on Sunday.
Parliament unanimously gave the green light to the proposed law last month and it now just needs approval from cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That is expected to take place on Sunday, paving the way for Israel to become a major player on the global stage.
The Israeli Ministry of Finance announced the news, and that sent cannabis stocks soaring in Tel Aviv. There are eight licensed cannabis producers in the country and they are considered world leaders due to Israel’s long history of producing medicinal marijuana and innovating with technology.
The government hopes to grow its economy by a billion shekels ($265 million) per year through exports after noting demand for Israeli cannabis from Australia, Germany, Austria, and Mexico.
Medicinal cannabis companies listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange rose by double-digit percentage figures after the Ministry of Finance’s announcement. One major beneficiary is former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who became chairman of InterCure in September, pocketing a $10,000 per month salary.
He also took on share options in the business – 5% of the company’s shares at an NIS 3.20 strike price per share – and he has since made 21 million shekels ($5.7 million) on paper due to a rise in the firm’s share price. It is up 160% on the strike price, and shares are have climbed 53.4% in the past five days alone after news broke that exports would be permitted, showing it has thus far been a shrewd move for the former soldier and politician.
Barak is credited with bringing investor Gary Fegel to the business. Fegel led a $12 million financing round to boost growth in the company, while Barak has been in Davos this week whipping up support and boosting the firm’s profile as the world’s economic leaders gathered to talk business.
Israeli Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel said that approving medicinal cannabis exports will strengthen the country’s agricultural trade and position the country as a world leader. Ministry of Finance director general Shai Babad added that Israeli cannabis technology is already the best in the world and that patients across the globe will now be able to benefit from the country’s expertise in this field.