Israeli marijuana growers are confused and frustrated that their cannabis produce might be left unused and ready to rot amid bureaucratic blocks and ministerial infighting, The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.
Industry employees said the Israeli government told medical marijuana companies that their exports would be approved by 2018. Also, the Israeli cabinet gave its green light that it would approve exports of medicinal cannabis during the 2019 state budget vote.
The Jerusalem Post said there is 1 billion (NIS) or almost 300 million (USD) of produce waiting to be exported abroad.
“Now we have a big problem because it will be three months from now and [the growers] still won’t have export licenses,” said Hagit Weinstock, an attorney who represents 60 Israeli cannabis growers and producers.
Growers Threaten to Sell on the Black Market
Some people in the industry threatened that cannabis being grown and its products will end up in the black market.
“They have no other choice because people are growing tons of cannabis.”
He added: “What are they going to do with it? Are they going to be drug dealers?”
One of the issues dubbed by Weinstock as “ridiculous,” is that the Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is requesting millions of shekels for securely storing the drug at the airport, given its legal status as a controlled substance.
“We’re talking about billions of shekels every year. [The industry] can make billions,” but the Treasury is holding back because it wants “to save millions.”
So far, the Treasury didn’t agree to transfer the funds.
Oren Lebovitch, chairman of Ale Yarok, the political party that is pro-legalization of marijuana, said these delays will push actual exports till 2019.
Because of all the delays, it is likely that actual exports won’t start until 2019, said Lebovitch.
In September 2017, the Israeli Agriculture Ministry classified medical marijuana industry as a legal crop for farmers.
Following the decision, cannabis growers gained access to government aid, grants, and training.