Israeli farmers catch cannabis fever

Nearly 400 farmers in Israel have applied for licenses to grow cannabis since the government loosened restrictions on medical marijuana last year, according to officials from the Israeli Ministry of Health who provided an update to lawmakers at an Israeli parliamentary committee session Monday.

In addition to the 383 farmers who applied, the ministry has received 250 applications from nurseries wishing to distribute marijuana plants, 95 from pharmacies looking to sell cannabis products, and 60 from entrepreneurs interested in opening marijuana processing facilities. Regulators are reviewing the requests and have already provided preliminary approval to a majority of applicants.

Doctors will be able to begin prescribing medical marijuana to patients in next six months, a health ministry official told the Israeli parliament’s Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse on Monday.

Committee Chairman Tamar Zandberg of the Meretz party urged the ministry to hasten its efforts and remove bureaucratic obstacles...

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