Former PM Barak: Israel is now the land of milk, honey and cannabis

The former prime minister is responsible for the company's global growth strategy and the development of international business, and the company is currently examining going public on NASDAQ.

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April 2, 2019 09:27
2 minute read.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak spoke at the two-day CannaTech Tel Aviv conference on April 1st, 20

Former prime minister Ehud Barak spoke at the two-day CannaTech Tel Aviv conference on April 1st, 2019. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)

 
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The State of Israel may now be considered the “land of milk, honey and cannabis,” former prime minister Ehud Barak said as he opened the two-day CannaTech Tel Aviv conference on Monday.

“The cannabis industry is at a unique turning point, turning within a dramatically short time frame from a pariah to a main-stage industry. Some 35 countries have already legalized cannabis to a certain extent, either [for] medical or sometimes even recreational use,” he said.

Since September, Barak has served as chairman of Canndoc-InterCure, a holding company of Israeli medical cannabis firms.

The former prime minister is responsible for the company’s global growth strategy and the development of international business. The company is currently examining going public on the NASDAQ stock market.

“We are at the lower inflection point of the growth of the cannabis industry, and we will face exponential inflation of the volume size and tonnage of products, both for recreational and medical use, in the coming years,” Barak said.

The global medical cannabis market was valued at $8.3 billion in 2017, and is projected to soar in value to $28b. by 2024, according to a recent report by Energias Market Research. In January, the Israeli government approved exports of domestically-grown medical cannabis to the worldwide legal market.

Following the government’s approval, Canndoc-InterCure announced that it would be accelerating its production capacity to approximately 100 tons of medical cannabis per year.

The company’s global expansion strategy targets operations in 10 territories across the world, including the European Union and Canada. It currently has an IMC-GMP grade supply of more than one ton of medical cannabis products for both patients and export.
“The future belongs to the bigger, faster and more assertive players, which will enter directly into the markets, backed by capital. Presence in the United States market will be critical once legalized [there] on the federal level,” Barak said.

“Canndoc is trying to head to NASDAQ and play on the global arena, and I’m sure other Israeli companies will be there as well. Israel has a very good cooperation agreement with the European Union, and good access to the Far East, India and China. We can already see very deep and intimate cooperation developing with the Canadians, and I expect the same to happen once the Americans set their federal rules.”

Established five years ago by iCAN Israel-Cannabis founder and CEO Saul Kaye, CannaTech conferences have grown from dozens of attendees to more than a thousand today.

“Just like we started small, small is where the cannabis industry is – and it’s going somewhere really big,” said Kaye.

“We built an ecosystem in a space which is really complicated. You have people in overalls [who] grow things, scientists in white lab coats and businessmen in suits, and they don’t all speak the same language. What we were able to do is to create a language that everyone could understand.”

If the cannabis industry conversation was dominated last year by normalization, Kaye said 2019 will be the year of specialization and legalization.

“It really is a global conversation. There isn’t any government worldwide that isn’t thinking about how to tap into potential tax revenues, but there is so much change that is yet to happen – and we’re the drivers of that change.”

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