CANNAINVESTOR Magazine December / January 2016 - Page 111

“In the near future, we are going to see a host of new medical products and innovative business solutions catering to the cannabis industry based upon Israel's unique ability to put science to work.” Says Clifton Flack, iCAN’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Our experiences in science based validation and data driven optimization of market demands will be found powering many cannabis products. We call this 'Israel-under-the-hood.’” Simply put, Israel has the resources,the know-how and the framework to sustain the growing R&D demands of such a large market.

This is the gift of a strictly medical program: it allows for focus. It also allows for extensive development and study on specific compounds and their applications. Israel's unique regulatory environment has allowed doctors time to get on board with the program and start the tough work of mainstreaming this medicine. It is a work in progress, to be sure, but make no mistake, there is progress. A medically based market also allows evidence-based trends to emerge, which we believe everyone agrees is a good thing and offers equal market value across both the medical and recreational markets.

“It’s not about a ‘good’ versus a ‘bad’ market, it’s just a totally different market. Money will be made in both markets, but the long term strategy from farm to pharma that iCAN has focused on allows us to create turnkey solutions for new emerging markets” says Saul Kaye, CEO iCAN:israel-cannabis.

You can look at Israel’s program is like the tenured professor to the US’s cool, rasta-surfer dude, maybe not as fun to party with, but big pharma tends to lean on the geeky professor types. We are already beginning to see big pharma’s reach into the cannabis space (GW, Teva), their steps will have a huge impact on every sector of the global market. While rec and medical are two totally different beasts, the former being about making and developing medicine that targets specific conditions, the latter about everything else (free-trade, vegan, infused chocolates to cannabis vaginal suppositories to CBD rich pet food), there is, and will continue to be, much to learn from each other.

So, first thing to understand when talking about Israel, is that Israel is a government backed medical market with a well established infrastructure for all manner of R&D. The Volcani Center, Israel’s 95 year old Agricultural Research Organization recently opened a “National Center for Cannabis” in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agricultural Research Center (ARO). They are responsible for all genetics of medical cannabis strains, monitoring and providing the products for growers and developing new technologies for seed genetics. They are “ground zero” for all things ag-tech and their work is extremely impressive.

Also, Israel’s medical cannabis program, which began back in the mid-90’s, was a global first of it’s kind. The “Yakar,” the Ministry of Health’s cannabis unit is taking actively hammering out local reform and establishing export protocols. iCAN is honored to have a seat at the Knesset and weigh in on the greater story of Israel’s place in the global market.