Trump Bullied Israeli PM Netanyahu To Stop MMJ Exports
Just as Israel was getting poised to start their cannabis export program, reports say that Netanyahu’s sudden decision to halt the project was driven by … Trump.
Early this week, Israeli news outlets began reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s shocking decision to stop the MMJ export program in its tracks. Should it move forward, it would make Israel the second country in the world to legally ship cannabis internationally next to Canada.
Netanyahu’s announcement came Sunday night following a cabinet meeting with the ministers of health, agriculture, and finance. The Jerusalem Post and http://www.xn--4dbcyzi5a.com/en/2018/02/???-???????-?????-????-??-??????-?????/Channel 2 News reported that POTUS called Netanyahu to clarify his “general attitude” against the importation of cannabis. “Netanyahu told the ministers that it would not be wise to be the vanguard in this field, noting that Canada is the only country so far that has authorized the export of cannabis,” says the Post. A report also says that even when a Finance Ministry representative recommended avoiding cannabis exports to the US as a means of avoiding the problem, Netanyahu responded by saying that it wouldn’t serve the interests of Israel if they go against the administration’s policy.
Dana Weiss, Channel 2 news anchor reported: “Netanyahu made it clear to the ministers that Israel should not be the pioneer in this context, since besides Canada there is no country in the world that exports the drug,” she says. “At this stage, the Treasury will remind the participants that any confrontation can be avoided if the government chooses not to export cannabis to the United States, but Netanyahu reiterated the administration’s position in Washington, stressing that it would not necessarily serve Israel’s interests. At the end of the discussion, Netanyahu ordered a freeze on the move until the completion of economic tests and an examination with the Health Ministry.”
The exportation program, which was approved last August by the Health and Finance Ministers, were currently awaiting a policy review by the Health Ministry and the National Economic Council chairman.
According to a Haaretz report, the decision has been criticized. MK Tamar Zandberg of the Knesset Committee on Drug Abuse said that officials would “live to regret the decision to stop important progress that Israel has already started making, which will erase the competitive advantage that Israel has developed in the marijuana market that is breaking ground worldwide.”
“Netanyahu’s decision to stop marijuana exports is a destructive one stemming from ignorance and fear. Israel merited being an agricultural power, and, yes, in the marijuana field, too. It’s good for the economy, it’s good for agriculture, and it’s good for the sick,” she added. Zandberg said she would call for an emergency meeting regarding the issue. Hagit Weinstock, a lawyer working with Israeli cannabis farmers and international investors, also condemned Netanyahu’s move. “The Israeli prime minister passed up today on four billion shekels a year that could improve the lives of Israeli citizens, that could ease the struggle of the disabled, the burden on the hospitals and the farmers’ distress,” she says in a Haaretz article. “The ministers are busy scaring the prime minister that the streets of Israel will be covered with marijuana, detached from the reality in which we live where tens of thousands of people smoke and consume marijuana without interruption.”
“Farmers and investors from Israel and abroad who have invested millions based on the Israeli government’s commitment find themselves in a situation in which their own investment is going down the drain,” Weinstock adds.
It won’t be surprising if Netanyahu ends up ruffling feathers with his decision, as if the government’s move to exclude cannabis exporters for this year’s budget wasn’t enough, some of them threatened to sell their products on the black market. If it’s true that Netanyahu was afraid of upsetting Trump, then investors and entrepreneurs will have to wait a long time to see any progress. It’s estimated that 50 MMJ companies in Israel already work in either cultivation, the manufacture of various delivery devices, and cannabis cosmetics. In 2016 alone, investors funneled over $ 100 million into Israeli cannabis farms.
Another article written by Oren Lebovich in the Israeli Cannabis Magazine said that there was a possibility the government could order a decrease in the number of permitted cannabis farms, from 300 to as little as just two or three.