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Medical Marijuana Companies Use Israel As Testing Ground

Israel is becoming a center of American medical marijuana production and research, as U.S. companies move their grow houses and R&D operations to the Jewish State. It is much easier to conduct medical trials on drugs made from cannabis in Israel than it is in the U.S., where companies must spend several years getting approval from federal agencies to even do basic research on marijuana.

“The seriousness with which the Israeli scientific community approaches this is incomparable,” Charles Pollack, director of the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, told Rolling Stone. “Israel is a hotbed of quality cannabis research.”

Over 50 American companies currently have medical marijuana R&D operations running in Israel, and 2016 saw over $125 million of investment from U.S. companies in Israeli cannabis operations. One Israeli firm specializing in cannabis R&D expects total investment in Israeli cannabis companies to reach $1 billion over the next ten years.

Israel’s government invests millions of dollars annually into medical marijuana research. American companies often choose Israel as the place to run the early stages of their clinical trials for medical marijuana-based drugs because those same trials would almost certainly be rejected by the FDA.

Even the National Institutes of Health funds hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical marijuana research in Israel each year.

Contact Ari Feldman at or on Twitter @aefeldman.




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