By / July 21, 2020

Israel extends cannabis licenses as the debate for price control continue

Following the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Isreali Ministry of Health formulated an automatic extension procedure, without the need to submit an application, for licenses that allow the use of medical cannabis.

According to the new procedure, all licenses for the use of cannabis in the new registry of licenses will be automatically extended for companies in the industry under the following conditions:

  • If the registered expiration date is between 1.4.20 and 30.6.20 – the license is extended by three months from the registered expiration date, i.e. at the latest until 30.9.20.
  • If the registered expiration date is between 1.7.20 and 31.8.20 – the license is extended by two and a half months (10 weeks from the registered expiration date, i.e. no later than 9.11.20.

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Cannabis consumers from the old registry are also affected by these extensions

In regard to the “old generation” of licenses for patients who still receive deliveries directly from companies at an old price, and in the meantime are awaiting a High Court decision on the matter at the beginning of next month, it was determined that:

  • Older generation licenses from the interim order issued by the High Court, i.e. licenses with an expiration date specified between 1.2.19 and 31.7.19, and which were extended in the last order until 5.8.20 – their validity is extended by another ten weeks unless the court gives a different decision.
  • Older generation licenses whose expiration date registered in the body of the license is between 1.4.20 and 30.6.20, if any – extended by three months from the registered expiration date.
  • Older generation licenses whose expiration date registered in the body of the license is between 1.7.20 and 31.8.20, insofar as there are such – are extended by ten weeks from the registered expiration date.

In addition, cannabis use licenses of oncology patients (cancer patients), minors, or people with autism that have been extended by order of the director until 30.6.20 – also got their validity automatically extended by three months, until 30.9.20.

It should be noted that thousands of veteran patients whose licenses expired after 1.7.19 were forced to move to the new registry with no choice and pay higher sums of money without choosing to do so.

On the other hand, patients who have remained in the old registry complained that the companies that supply them with cannabis at previous prices do not offer a variety of products and that the products that are available are of a very low standard and quality.

There’s still no consensus about the decision to control cannabis prices

The High Court judges have delayed their decision regarding the imposition of price controls on medical cannabis products, in an attempt to curb the jump in costs following the reform.

The committee has not yet reached an unequivocal conclusion: the Ministry of Health supported price controls while the Ministry of Finance objected. So, in the coming weeks, the directors of the ministries are expected to discuss and reach a decision.

There is clearly an intention to set some new pricing model for medical cannabis, but it will likely not be fully supervised. One explanation is that they will allow the marketing of “premium” products at high prices, but will also require the marketing of cheap products at the same time.

In addition, cannabis companies that do not meet the price guidelines will probably be denied a permit to export cannabis abroad. Cannabis companies have stated many times that they are willing to subsidize the costs to patients in Israel by a certain percentage if they would be allowed to export cannabis-based products abroad.

However, there is a concern among patients that such a model, which as stated is still only speculation, will lead the companies to export the quality goods abroad and leave patients in the country low-quality products.


(Featured image by Yash Lucid via Pexels)

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