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Israel and Canada Attracted to New York’s Marijuana Industry

Jun 18, 2015 • 2:03 PM EDT
3 MIN READ  •  By Michael Berger
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Although Israel is known for its advanced weapons and military defense systems, the country is now becoming well known for its scientific research focused on cannabis. Scientists in Israel have been researching the benefits associated with cannabis for the last 50 years and the country’s pro-cannabis standpoint has made it attractive to pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Although the Israeli cannabis research and development efforts are unmatched by any country, the growth of the United States cannabis industry has caught Israel’s attention and they want in. This is a surprising development because the Israeli government does not allow cannabis producers to export their products. The country, however, allows for the exportation of knowledge.

Israeli and Canadian companies are applying for NY license

Tikun Olam is the only industrial producer of cannabis in Israel and it operates under a license from the Israel Ministry of Health. Tikun Olam is partnering with New York’s Compassionate Care Center and have applied to be a registered organization under the state’s Compassionate Care Act.

MedReleaf entered into an exclusive partnership with the Compassionate Care Center of New York which has as greenhouse in Newark and has applied to be a registered organization. In May 2014, MedReleaf entered into a partnership with Tikun Olam for a strain of cannabis that benefits epileptic children. The non-euphoric strain, called Rafael, helps reduce the number of seizures that such children have; in Israel it is available in oral doses.

Tilray is one of the leaders in the Canadian cannabis industry and they are one of the portfolio companies owned by Privateer Holdings, a Washington based private equity firm. Tilray applied for a New York State medical marijuana license.

Murders and Marijuana Seizures Decline In Mexico

Recent research has shown that expanded access to legal marijuana in the United States has impacted the Mexico-based drug cartels.  The amount of marijuana seized by the United States Border Patrol over the last three years has decreased significantly. In December 2014, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said that Mexican cartels are smuggling high-quality marijuana into Mexico. These cartels are able to charge higher prices due to the quality level of the marijuana.

In 2014, the Border Patrol seized 1.9 million pounds of marijuana, a significant decrease from the 2.5 million pounds seized in 2011. Mexico’s army reported an even steeper decline, confiscating 664 tons of cannabis in 2014, 32% less than the year before.

In 2011, homicides were at an all-time high when Mexican police departments reported approximately 23,000 murders. Last year, they reported 15,649 homicides. Alejandro Hope, a security analyst and former officer in Mexico’s federal intelligence agency, said that other factors have impacted the decreased number of homicides. 

Hope said, “Finances from marijuana could be having an impact on violence but you also have to look at other causes. Many of the most violent cartel commanders have been killed or arrested.”


Israel and Canada’s entry into the United States medical marijuana industry is a major development for the global cannabis industry. This is only the beginning of partnerships between countries and overtime these relationships will overshadow the cartel’s global reach. As the medical marijuana industry continues to develop, global partnerships will become more significant and that will lead to further mainstreaming of the industry. 

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Authored By

Michael Berger

Michael Berger is Managing Partner of StoneBridge Partners, LLC and Founder of Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Michael was an Equity Research Analyst at Raymond James Financial covering the Energy Sector. Michael has been featured in publications such as The Street, Bloomberg, US Money News, and hosts various cannabis events across North America.


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