After nearly a year of discussions, a shipment of cannabis seeds took off from Israel to the US on Tuesday night, the first-ever shipment of cannabis seeds from Israel to a foreign country.
The shipment is experimental, after which contacts will be made regarding the continuation of the export.
This is a historic step as part of the implementation of Government Resolution No. 4490, which was updated last August to include the export of medical cannabis seeds from Israel, and could lead to the opening of additional international markets for Israeli exports and significantly advance the medical cannabis industry in Israel, the Ministry of Agriculture explained.
The State of Israel is considered a global expert in the field of research and development of the cannabis plant and has been active in the field for decades, but only in recent years has it gained momentum due to changes in Israeli policy.
The shipment included hemp cannabis seeds developed by the Israeli “BetterSeeds.” Upon arrival, the seeds will be examined by commercial hemp growers to verify their suitability for the US market.
“The opening of seed exports in the field of cannabis is expected to strengthen Israel’s position as having knowledge and expertise in the field of seeds. In addition, increasing the range of exports and expanding it to cannabis products will enable the deepening of existing markets and penetration into new markets while riding on the growing wave of demand for cannabis products with medical-health value,” the Ministry stated.
Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Oded Forer stated Wednesday that “the export of cannabis seeds has expanded the range of Israeli agricultural exports and strengthens local agriculture, while taking advantage of Israel’s relative advantage in a field that is still considered nascent.”
Israel has been exporting medical cannabis for several years.
Israel has made a strategic decision to invest in the medical cannabis field, and in December 2019 the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) announced the establishment of a state-sponsored incubator for start-ups focused on medical marijuana, a global first.
In April 2018, Israel announced it would be providing the first export licenses to farms producing marijuana for medical purposes. Some 50 Israeli farms were recipients of the licenses. That month, Israel’s first pharmacies gained permission to start providing customers with medical marijuana.