Opening the CannaTech conference earlier this month, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak quipped that Israel is now the “land of milk, honey and cannabis.” Given the recent performance of the cannabis-related stocks traded on the Tel-Aviv stock exchange (Barak is Chairman of InterCure whose stock appreciated 1000% in 2018), are investors getting high on nothing more than a buzz bubble?
Behind the buzz about “marijuana millionaires,” Yuge market potential, and volatile stocks (InterCure’s stock nearly tripled earlier this year but is now 25% off its peak), is a serious 55-year-old Israeli enterprise of pioneering interdisciplinary research into the medical benefits of cannabis. Supported by a perfect climate for growing cannabis, it has led to a very supportive climate—academic, regulatory, and entrepreneurial—for developing botanical-sourced pharmaceutical-grade products. Like the rest of the world, Israel has considered cannabis (and still does) to be a “dangerous drug,” but unlike the rest of the world, it has not let the stigma deter its insatiable curiosity about cannabis’s therapeutic potential.
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