After long wait Israel has finally approved medical cannabis exports.
Israel has approved medical cannabis export today, January 27. The actual export is set to begin within 9-12 month, after proper regulations have been established. However, in two months Israel is facing an election, so this process might take a bit more time.
The cannabis export will include only processed products (cannabis extracts, oil, softgels, isolates, topicals, edibles, etc.) while raw material (flowers) won’t be allowed to be exported. Another important thing to observe is that unlike other countries, Israel has placed both cannabis and hemp under the same classification, so the local CBD products are coming from medical cannabis. This means that unless the law changes, Israel is skipping the current CBD boom and going directly to the next stage: GMP approved products.
Israel is betting on GMP
The approval of Israeli cannabis export means that the future of medical cannabis, and even recreational cannabis and hemp products, belongs to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) – approved products only, even in the US.
The two main forces behind this movement are Germany (as the biggest EU market) and Israel (the only country with a developed medical cannabis program), both pushing GMP quality standards as part of their regulations. Looking at Germany, for example, it is predicted that even their recreational cannabis products (when reaching legalization) will have to be GMP ones, so GMP will be applied to both medical and recreational cannabis products.
However, reaching GMP isn’t that simple and even in Israel, where without GMP you can’t export cannabis products, only four growers have successfully reached that level (BOL, IMC, Seach, and Intercure). Other companies will have to improve their quality protocols before they are allowed to export any material to Europe. Moreover, as the new cannabis reform will take effect on March 31st, all products will have to be processed in approved facilities in order to qualify for export. Currently only two have succeed in setting up such facilities (Panaxia and BOL).
GMP is coming to the US
While all this doesn’t matter much today to the US market, we clearly see that after the EU becomes GMP compliant, the US internal market will have no choice but to adopt higher quality protocols. CBD Testers predicts that within three to five years, most of the existing US cannabis market will have to adapt or to stop operating at all; and that counts for cannabis in general, medical cannabis, and hemp products.
We predict that GMP will become part of regulations within a few years, even before the markets have to adapt to constant regulation changes. This has happened in Spain, where CBD edibles have been removed from approved products. A similar problem caused some of the CBD products in California to be considered temporally illegal. The approval of the Farm Bill is another step toward that direction, since now the FDA is motivated to dive into the hemp industry, and as we have reported earlier, warning letters are just around the corner.
How to survive the cannabis regulations game
While your cannabis business is safe, for now, you should keep in mind that the US market isn’t isolated from the rest of the world. Keep following CBD Testers as we will continue to report on international regulation changes and get your business prepared in advance for the perfect storm that will hit it tomorrow.
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