Chinese healthcare giant signs deal for Israeli medical cannabis

China's Thalys called Israel the 'start-up nation' upon signing a deal with medical marijuana company iCAN.

April 17, 2019 02:24
1 minute read.
Chinese healthcare giant signs deal for Israeli medical cannabis

An attendee wears a golden pin in the shape of a cannabis leaf during Cannatech 2017, an annual global cannabis industry event, in Tel Aviv, Israel March 20, 2017. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)


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An Israeli cannabis company is teaming up with a Chinese medical technology firm to develop a partnership in the fast growing field of medicinal marijuana.

iCAN: Israel-Cannabis and Thalys Medical Technology, a Chinese healthcare conglomerate, signed a deal that will focus on the medical hemp industry.  
“By pairing with a leading medical, agricultural, and technology incubator from Israel, known by many as the ‘Start-Up Nation’, Thalys advances its mission to serve the Chinese domestic healthcare market through innovation," stated Thalys’ Board Member Yicheng Wen. " We are excited to deepen the relationship between Chinese and Israeli entrepreneurs to accelerate the development of China’s new medical hemp industry.”

Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN praised the deal, stating that "Thalys will help iCAN’s portfolio companies enter the world's most populous consumer market. Thalys, which plans to co-invest in iCAN’s portfolio investments that address Chinese market needs, will have exclusive cooperation rights on iCAN's incubated start-ups and we will have matching stakes in new investments. I am honored, humbled and proud to work cooperatively with one of China's leading medical technology companies,” he said.

Kaye is also the founder of the CannaTech conference which took place this week in Tel Aviv with over 1,000 industry leaders from 35 countries. 

Despite being a burgeoning field in Israel, many are still skeptical about the medical benefits of the plant.

In 2018, Moshe Bar Siman Tov, director general of the Ministry of health stated, "cannabis does not heal" and warned against damage that might be caused by long term usage. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has also called marijuana a dangerous drug which can lead to harder, addictive drugs, but also spearheaded legislation to decrease punishment for personal use of recreational cannabis, which went into effect this month. 

Former Member of Knesset Moshe Feiglin made medical cannabis a major part of his election campaign. His Zehut party just missed making the threshold in the April 9 election.

Selling marijuana remains illegal with police conducting a major operation against TeleGrass, a smartphone app in which users could illegal purchase the drug.

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