Marijuana reform is sweeping across the United States, with 8 states (and D.C.) voting to legalize marijuana for adult use, and nearly 30 states having legal medical marijuana laws on the books. But, despite recent victories, support for reform at an all-time high, and a booming marijuana industry in America, researching marijuana is still a tough thing to do. Marijuana is of course considered to be a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government. The same federal government that itself grows marijuana for research purposes. It’s a brutal irony that has hampered the process of unlocking all of the medical benefits of the marijuana plant.
Israel’s approach to marijuana research is much different. Israel seems to actually embrace marijuana research. The country is home to Raphael Mechoulam, considered to be the leading marijuana researcher on the planet. Mr. Mechoulam has made many discoveries related to the cannabis plant, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that if his research was based in the United States, some (if not all) of his discoveries would have never occurred. Mr. Mechoulam is based out of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. There he is able to go about his work without the hurdles that plague research projects in the United States.
The growing marijuana industry in America needs science based answers about the marijuana plant. They don’t want to sit by while the United States government continues to squeeze out competition and do what it can to maintain a basic monopoly on marijuana research in the US. That is why more and more of them are investing in Israeli research projects. Per Reuters:
Already a pioneer in high-tech and cutting-edge agriculture, Israel is starting to attract American companies looking to bring medical marijuana know-how to a booming market back home.
Since 2014, U.S. firms have invested about $50 million in licensing Israeli medical marijuana patents, cannabis agro-tech startups and firms developing delivery devices such as inhalers, said Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN, a private cannabis research hub.
“I expect it to grow to $100 million in the coming year,” Kaye said at iCAN’s CannaTech conference in Tel Aviv this month, one of the largest gatherings of medical marijuana experts.
The article goes on to list quotes by legendary American researcher Sue Sisley who points out that heroin is easier to study in America than marijuana. The United States government has been growing marijuana for research purposes at the University of Mississippi for decades. There has been a recent push to remove the virtual monopoly that the federal government has on marijuana research, with scientists and doctors starting to step up and lead the charge. Marijuana policy needs to be based on science, which is very hard to do when marijuana related scientific research is impeded in the way it has been in the United States for so many years.