The Ministry of Health and Agriculture do not agree on the question of the legality of the import of medical cannabis from abroad for marketing purposes in Israel The Ministry of Agriculture claims that the imports made by Syqe, which is in cooperation with Teva and Philip Morris, Claims that this is a legal process that is permitted for all companies.
In contrast to the Ministry of Health’s decision to ban the importation of EU-GMP “finished” medical cannabis products for marketing purposes for patients in Israel, the Ministry of Agriculture said Monday.
In response to the magazine’s request, the Agriculture Ministry claims in its response that the Ministry of Health’s decision to permit such imports for marketing purposes is contrary to the procedures. They contend that such imports are permitted only for research purposes and laboratory tests, and in any case requires a license for crop protection services after a strict closure process.
As a result of Syqe’s announcement last week of the marketing of its new cannabis inhaler in the Netherlands, it was puzzling how the Health Ministry allowed the company to market cannabis that does not meet Israeli production standards (IMC-GAP and IMC-GMP).
Senior officials in the industry also wondered how Syqe introduced cannabis to Israel without obtaining a permit from the plant protection services in the Ministry of Agriculture for importing plant material, without strict closure before entering the country, and for marketing and trading purposes for patients.
Among other things, the Ministry of Health claimed unfair preference to Syqe, in which the Phillip Morris company invested NIS 100 million. Teva is also the exclusive distributor of the new inhaler. The Ministry of Health has been “caught” in the past and gives benefits to Philip Morris and therefore raises some concern.
The Ministry of Health said in response to Cannabis Magazine’s query that such imports are now allowed to any company that wishes to do so, since they claim that the European standard is sufficient for the marketing of products in Israel even without meeting Israeli standards. It is also claimed that a finished and dried cannabis product does not meet the definition of “plant material” and therefore the Plant Protection Services license is not required in the Ministry of Agriculture.
We asked the Ministry of Agriculture to clarify the question of exactly what “plant material” is, ie, whether a “finished” cannabis product containing dried plant material is considered “vegetable material” and therefore requires a crop protection service license, or is it a product such as dried za’atar Requires this license, is not bound by the closure process and is permitted for marketing and commercial purposes.
In response to the letter from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture claims that the importation of the “Syqe” without obtaining the Plant Protection Services license and the marketing goals, and not just the research, is improper and ostensibly contrary to the procedures. Accordingly, any other import of Cannabis product, even when it comes to a “finished” product, is strictly prohibited, but only for research.
“Any imported plant material must comply with the requirements of the import regulations, including the import license of the Ministry of Agriculture,” the Ministry of Agriculture reported. “In addition, all imported plant material is required with the approval of the release of the Ministry of Agriculture.”
“Dried za’atar leaves are considered dry and processed, and are required for visual inspection at the port before they are released. However, since the purpose of the product is to eat, there is no need for the license.”
Finally, the Ministry of Agriculture states unequivocally that, contrary to the claims of the Ministry of Health, “dried cannabis inflorescence is considered ‘vegetable material’ and is required by the Ministry of Agriculture.”
“Import regulations published in 2009 (Seventh addition) state that cannabis, in different product forms, is prohibited in importation,” was determined. “You can apply for an import license for research and development under strict closure conditions.”
In response to this announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health responded that they were right and that the import of “Syqe” was done with permission and that any other import of a finished and dried cannabis product, even for marketing purposes.
In other words, as of today, the Ministry of Health permits the import of finished and dried cannabis products for marketing purposes for patients in Israel, but the Ministry of Agriculture claims that this is a violation of the law and a procedure that was done contrary to procedures.