Israel’s Health Ministry told a Knesset committee on Monday that it is processing nearly 400 applications from farmers who want to grow marijuana for medical purposes.
The ministry has received 383 applications from farmers who wish to grow the plants, in addition to 250 applications from nurseries who would like to distribute the plants harvested by the farmers.
Another 95 pharmacies have submitted applications to be able to sell cannabis products, and 60 business entrepreneurs have applied to open marijunana processing plants.
At present the Knesset is considering passage of legislation that would allow Israel to export medical marijuana. Ministers estimated this past August that sales of the product could inject as much as $1.1 billion into the Israeli economy.
Within the next six months, physicians will be able to start issuing prescriptions for medical marijuana, according to an official at the Health Ministry who testified at the Knesset Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
Meretz Knesset Member Tamar Sandberg, who serves as Committee chairperson, urged the ministry to speed up its efforts to resolve the remaining obstacles.
“The potential health and economic benefits of medical marijuana are incredible and we’re paying dearly for every wasted moment,” she said.