In a turn of events that are leaving Israeli cannabis cultivators at a loss, US President Donald Trump told the Prime Minister of Israel that he’d prefer it if the Israeli state curbed its planned marijuana export industry, as reported Wednesday evening. As Israel made solid plans to export the plant back in August of last year, investors are now scrambling to make sense of what’s gone down.
Israel has a long, positive history with the marijuana plant and much of their scientific and medical research put forth is at the cutting edge of the industry. With such a rich history with cannabis, it is surprising that Netanyahu would give in so easily.
And though we knew that the current US administration was far from cool with pot, having rescinded Obama-era policy that protected compliant users, manufacturers and purveyors from prosecution. However, it was Jeff Sessions who was the voice of said cannabis bashing. Now, Trump himself is putting his two-cents in and it doesn’t look bright.
The report went on, stating that a savvy Finance Ministry representative offered the idea that the problem could be avoided by not exporting to the US, however, Netanyahu countered, saying it may not be in Israel’s best interest to go against the Trump administration’s policy.
This is an enormous let down for investors, cultivators and activists alike. Millions of dollars have already been spent in anticipation of exporting cannabis. Some growers have threatened in protest to just sell the cannabis on the black market, and they may literally not have a choice. With Trump in office for the next couple years at least, it’s going to be some time before the issue is likely to be addressed anew.
Ministry representatives weren’t even granted the time to make counter arguments. Despite their projected annual intake of a billion dollars, Netanyahu made it clear that Trump had made his own position clear and that they were not moving forward.
It’s an afraid new world and Trump is spearheading that fear mongering and tossing it wherever he spots a landing space for his and his administration’s rhetoric. Now more than ever do activists around the world need to make their voices heard on the pot topic. And, the US needs to stop being the world’s bully and open its eyes to the compassion and entrepreneurship that can drive budding economies.