Report: Israel investigates Canadian cannabis imports following complaints from locals

The Israeli Ministry of Economy launched an investigation into the import practices of at least 10 Canadian cannabis companies, reportedly in response to concerns from local marijuana companies over the market effect from imports.

According to StratCann, the ministry posted a notice on Jan. 18 directed to the 10 Canadian marijuana producers, including:

Village Farms International
Organigram Holdings
Tilray Canada
Hexo Corp. (which is owned by Tilray)
The Green Organic Dutchman
Canopy Growth Corp.
Cronos Group
Auxly Cannabis Group
Decibel Cannabis

The aim of the investigation is to determine whether imports of medical marijuana from Canada have caused “actual damage” to the Israeli cannabis industry, Cannabis Magazine in Israel reported. The agency could recommend a new tariff on medical marijuana imports to level the playing field for smaller local companies that have seen prices plummet due to allegations of “unfair competition” from Canadian operators, the magazine reported.

Complaints from five Israeli cannabis companies apparently sparked the investigation. One Israeli cannabis business said its sales had plummeted by 50% because of pricing competition from Canadian imports. Another Israeli company called Canadian imports an “existential threat,” the magazine reported.

While domestic medical marijuana demand in Israel is roughly 52 tons per year, Israel’s own cannabis industry was already producing about 100 tons per year, the Jerusalem Post reported in January 2023.

Israel opened its borders to cannabis imports in 2019, and Canada began exporting marijuana in 2018. That year, 272 companies exported cannabis internationally, StratCann reported.

According to the Canadian government agency Health Canada, cannabis exports are likely to continue increasing, not just to Israel but to nations such as Australia, Argentina, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

The nation has exported a total of 140,958.40 kilograms of dried cannabis and 37,230.01 liters of cannabis oil since Oct. 2020, StratCann reported. Health Canada received 1,211 applications from Canadian companies hoping to export marijuana as of Sept. 12 last year and had already approved 1,147.

In previous years, Health Canada has given the green light for 1,805 companies to export cannabis in 2022-2023, up from 1,421 in 2021-2022 and 1,267 in 2020-2021.

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