U.S. Firms Invest $50 Million In Israeli Marijuana Research


American firms have invested about $50 million in licensing Israeli medical marijuana patents, cannabis agro-tech start-ups, and companies developing delivery devices such as inhalers, scientists say.

“I expect it to grow to $100 million in the coming year,” Saul Kaye, CEO of Israel-based iCAN, said at the private cannabis research hub’s CannaTech conference in Tel Aviv in March.

Although 23 U.S. states now allow the use of medical marijuana, with four states and Washington, DC, also allowing its recreational use, scientists claim stringent American rules set by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are limiting cannabis research in the U.S.

“In the United States it’s easier to study heroin than marijuana,” said U.S. psychiatrist Suzanne Sisley, director of Medicinal Plant Research at Heliospectra, who has been researching the effects of using cannabis on military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Reuters reported.

“With marijuana you have to go through added layers of government red tape. It highlights the way marijuana research is being shackled by politics,” she said.

By contrast, in Israel, though recreational marijuana is illegal and few people are allowed permits to purchase medical cannabis, the government is much less stringent with regard to research. Cannabis growers work with scientific institutions in clinical trials to develop strains of cannabis that treat different diseases. Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman supports medical cannabis usage, and has introduced steps to ease its prescription and sale in the Jewish state.

“What you would spend half a million dollars on in the U.S., you could easily get for $125,000 or $150,000 in Israel, and it’s going to be done efficiently and on time. The quality of research is world-class and the arbitrage of value is good,” said Seth Yakatan, CEO of California-based Kalytera Therapeutics.




  1. Waiting game probably.

    Someone desperately wants the weed and someone else desperately wants to make money on it.

    The idea of medical marijuana is intelligent in all likelihood.

    But if we are just doing it to see Moses climb the Wall in Jerusalem, we are really stupid.

    Still, its a new day and age and the marijuana politics are huge.

    Please tell me the yeshivas will not be looking for a new way to get the kids to worry about the fun of learning.

    This is not the war I think an intelligent person needs in terms of his own capacity to find a right blessing in human popular consumption.

    Try a cigar instead.