Refresh Checked Unchecked Menu Search Shopping bag Geolocation Person Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube Info Icon CBC Icon CBC Shape CBD Icon CBD Shape CBG Icon CBG Shape THC Icon THC Shape THCV Icon THCV Shape
Advertise on Leafly

Trump Pressured Netanyahu to Stop Israeli Cannabis Exports, Reports Say

February 7, 2018
Israel was set to become the world's second legal cannabis exporter, after Canada. That's been put on hold, after a decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, above. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
A number of media outlets in Israel are reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a halt to the country’s ambitious cannabis export program. The program, which had not yet begun exporting product, would have made Israel the second nation to legally move cannabis across international borders, after Canada.

Netanyahu’s decision came on Sunday night in a cabinet meeting with the nation’s ministers of agriculture, health, and finance. According to reports in the Jerusalem Post and on Channel 2 News, Netanyahu said US President Donald Trump had called him and made clear his “general attitude” against cannabis exports.

“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,” reported the Post.

‘Israel Should Not Be the Pioneer’

Channel 2 news anchor Dana Weiss reported on Wednesday:

“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 said. “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. “

Then: 300 Farms. Now: 3

An earlier report, by Oren Lebovich in Israel’s Cannabis Magazine, noted that the government could reduce the number of allowed cannabis farms from 300 to only two or three.

The idea of exporting cannabis from Israel is an idea that’s been around, and generally accepted, in many quarters of the government. In 2014, Netanyahu met with the health minister of the Czech Republic and spoke about the possibility of exporting Israeli cannabis to that European nation. The program has not received official approval from the government, though, due in part to opposition from Gilad Erdan, Israel’s minister for public security and strategic affairs.

Bruce Barcott's Bio Image

Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

View Bruce Barcott's articles

  • jim

    Could it be that 45 and the GOP,(and some dem’s) are just as corrupted by “Best government money can buy” money (Citizen’s United) as they were before the election. Big Pharma has worked for years buying power to limit their competition . Our nation is being dragged back into the Failed “war on drugs” and only the poor and powerless will suffer. And to think this is over a precious God given plant that cures or treats so many life altering ailments. All to protect the obscene profits of pharmaceutical monopolies.
    God bless all those who work to end the war on drugs.
    Gentle Jim

  • Snegurochka

    Nettie is just Trump in a kippah. Same personal corruption, same hatred of foreigners, same pig cop attitude.

  • E.K.

    NO, NO, NO.!. Please don’ tell me that.!! I have always admired Israel’s ability to stay the course; so proud of their Cannabis research and attitude. Please don’t let Washington dictate what is right or wrong. Israel’s research into the Cannabis plant is probably the most advanced in the world. We the patients ask you please: continue to study Cannabis. I suffer from Chronic Trigeminal Neuralgia, I would like to have an inhaler
    and use it for my pain. A co pain in the states is manufacturing inhalers. I saw a company in Israel offering the same. I asked to buy one for my pain. I was told they could not mail to the USA. THC/PAIN

  • oatsuzn

    So let me get this straight. The only area in international affairs that this corrupt administration seeks to have influence on is Jeff Sessions’ outdated backward obsession with cannabis? So as this administration and big pharma lose their grip on cannabis prohibition in the individual states they want to impose their will on other countries that depend on their support. Well I guess Israel will fall behind like the US in the global cannabis market place. I guess Canada and Australia will lead the way and reap all the benefits.

  • Vicki Rush Siegel

    Have a blessed day, Jim. I see the silver lining, to me, as increasing the stock value of Canopy and Aurora. But I also can see that our plant friends of the world want to heal us, and it is happening. Happy Valentines Day to all the plants and people of the world today.