A worker touches a cannabis plant at a growing facility for the Tikun Olam company near the northern city of Safed.
(photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
Israeli venture capital firm OurCrowd announced Wednesday that it would partner with the Boulder, Colorado-based 7thirty to form "the world's leading global cannabis technology venture capital fund," according to the firm's statement.
Uri Bollag and Reuters contributed to this report.
The fund, which will manage $30 million in capital, will invest in medical and agricultural applications for cannabis technology, in retail and e-commerce and in pure research, according to the statement. The fund will be active in Israel, Canada and US.
“The explosive growth of the legal and medical cannabis market is quite impressive," OurCrowd CE Jon Medved said. "Canada recently legalized cannabis nationwide and Israel is in the final stages of legalizing cannabis export. The amount of serious medical research in cannabis is booming. This market will generate unprecedented global investment activity and returns for cannabis focused startups. Together with 7thirty, we plan to lead investments for serious companies who will pioneer technology for this important and growing market.”
“We are pleased to welcome OurCrowd to the 7thirty Opportunity Fund," said Micah Tapman, managing partner and co-founder of 7thirty. "Israel is a recognized leader and pioneer in cannabis technology, and OurCrowd has a demonstrated track record as a value-added investor. Together, we plan to bring a institutional discipline and rigor to the cannabis technology investment market.”
There are currently eight cultivating companies in Israel - many of which have resorted to opening farms abroad to get into the international market
. The government says there have been many requests form business owners awaiting authorization.
Cannbit - a newcomer which has a farm in southern Israel, signed a deal with local medical cannabis supplier Tikun Olam - said it was looking into opening a farm in Portugal if the new export regulations do not go through.
“If there will be exports from Israel there is less tendency for investments in other places,” CEO Yaron Razon said.
Together, another Israeli cannabis grower, has already started farms in Europe after signing a $300 million contract to supply cannabis products to a Canadian company.
“Exporting from Israel can have a big impact on the industry and economy,” said Alex Rabinovitch, controlling shareholder of InterCure, which recently bought medical cannabis firm Canndoc.
Patients in Israel can receive a prescription for medical marijuana if their condition does not improve after trying traditional drugs for one year. Israel rigorously restricts access to the drug. Marijuana treatment is available for the relief of chronic neuropathic pain, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and the side-effects of chemotherapy, among other diagnoses.
Around 33,000 Israelis are prescribed medical cannabis, using an average of 34 grams of the dry substance per month.
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