By Steve Elliott
Israel's natural gas reserves off its shores are considered a boon for the nation's economy. But the general consensus Thursday at a Thursday conference was that Israel is missing an even bigger opportunity -- in the field of medicinal cannabis.
The conference, on how Israel's farmers could benefit from the global market for medical marijuana, was hosted by the Israel Loss Adjusters Association (ILAA), reports Niv Elis at The Jerusalem Post. The cannabis market in the United States alone stands at $35 billion a year, according to Doron Havkin, chairman of the ILAA.
"Are we able to give up revenues from this market?" Havkin asked, arguing that the government could help Israel's struggling farmers in the Arava by declaring it a closed zone for growing export-oriented medical marijuana. Nearly 6,000 acres of land are waiting for such development, according to Havkin.
The economy would be the biggest beneficiary if Israel grew medical cannabis, according to Dr. Tamir Gadot, CEO of the pro-medical marijuana agricultural association Breath of Life. "The economic potential of growing Big Cannabis is greater than that of the gas," he said.
Dr. Gadot said that the government should recognize that medical marijuana is "a legitimate pharmaceutical industry,"