The Israeli government has issued new guidelines that outline the further decriminalisation of cannabis for recreational use.
Israel’s Minister for Justice Gideon Sa’ar issued new draft guidelines that mean cannabis consumption will no longer be a criminal offence. If a person is caught with cannabis, it will no longer be considered a criminal offence but an administrative one. This will be punishable with a fine instead similar to a traffic violation. The maximum fine will be 1,000 shekels and a second offence fine could be around 2000 shekels.
The fines would also be limited for those in the Israeli Defense Forces, prison wardens, police and minors as the new regulations do not apply to these groups. Another change to current legislation will mean that cannabis consumers with a previous record will be charged if caught.
The new guidelines will be temporary to replace the current laws which mean fines for first and second possession offences. However if there there is a prior conviction which means that person can be charged after their first offence. Under the current guidelines, third offences mean a conditional settlement deal then a fourth offence risks a potential conviction.
The new regulations will not allow for prosecution unless it is an ‘exceptional case.’ The legislation to decriminalise will also not differentiate between a first and second offence.
The new regulation is yet to be approved by the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee but the current legislation proposed in 2019 will expire in March. This would mean that cannabis consumption would return to being a criminal offence. Full legalisation was proposed by the previous Minister for Justice, Avi Nissenkorn but a change in government meant that plans were stalled.
Justice Minister Sa’ar said: “As we have pledged to the public, self-use of cannabis will not be considered a criminal offence. The lack of a policy on the subject makes, in practice, many normative citizens in Israel criminals, violates the rights of the individual and undermines trust between citizens and law enforcement.”
Israel is one of the world’s biggest medical cannabis markets between pharmaceutical companies, research facilities and patients. It is often seen as the capital of cannabis research due to the amount of industry research conducted there. The industry was estimated to be worth $264 million in 2021 as 43 tons of cannabis was grown there.
According to the Israeli Medical Cannabis Agency (IMCA) the number of medical cannabis patients in 2020 more than doubled to around 70,000. This was despite the existing supply and regulatory issues. In the following year, Israel also overtook Germany as the biggest importer of cannabis flower in the world.
Luxembourg delegates visit medical cannabis facility in Portugal
The delegation visited Tilray’s EU-GMP facility in Cantanhede.
Tilray Medical recently welcomed the Government of Luxembourg delegation on its visit to the company’s European Campus in Portugal.
In October 2021, global cannabis company Tilray was named as the supplier of cannabis products for Luxembourg’s medical cannabis programme by the country’s Ministry of Health.
For the programme, Tilray is supplying a variety of its pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products, including extracts and dried flower with different levels of THC and CBD for patients with a range of medical conditions.
The recent visit to Tilray’s EU-GMP medical cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility was organized to give the Luxembourg Delegation a firsthand view of Tilray’s operations in Portugal.
Tilray’s managing director in Europe, Sascha Mielcarek, commented: “We are honoured to host the Luxembourg Ministry of Health Delegation at our state-of-the-art cannabis facility in Cantanhede, Portugal.
“Demand for cannabis legalisation in Europe is growing rapidly and we are incredibly proud to service the patients in Luxembourg and around the world with the high-quality medical cannabis products they rely on and in the formats they prefer.”
The delegation included: Paulette Lenert, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health of Luxembourg; H. E. Conrad Bruch, Ambassador of Luxembourg to Portugal; Alain Origer, National Drugs Coordinator; Laura Valli, International Affairs Coordinator; Bob Lessel, Social Health Department; and, Sven Back, Department of narcotics and medicinal cannabis.
At the time of the announcement that Tilray would act as supplier for Luxembourg’s medical cannabis programme, chairman and chief executive officer, at Tilray, Irwin Simon said the company believes its growth potential in the European Union represents a $1bn opportunity, noting that: “We’re proud to be building this unrivaled global platform and will continue to advocate for patient access in Europe and countries around the world.”
Tilray was the first to successfully export medical cannabis from North America and import medical cannabis products into the EU in 2016, and its branded medical cannabis products are now available in 20 Countries around the world as the firm continues to expand its footprint in Europe.
Thailand becomes first country in Asia to decriminalise cannabis
Under the new law change, people incarcerated on cannabis-related charges will be released from prison.
Thailand has now decriminalised the cultivation and trade of cannabis, however, recreational use will remain illegal.
The production, trading, import and export of cannabis and hemp products for medicinal use is now legal in Thailand.
Previously, cannabis is was a category five narcotic, however, cannabis and hemp products have been allowed in the cosmetic and food industries since 2020, and the country was the first in Asia to legalise medical cannabis in 2018. It has also been legal in the country for registered companies to sell cannabis products if they contain less than 0.2 per cent of THC.
The move is a bid to increase economic productivity in the country, with the government valuing the industry in excess of USD£2bn (~£1.60bn) according to Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
Small operators will not need to register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, large cannabis-related businesses need FDA approval to produce and market products.
The move follows the decision from the Thai Government in May to hand out one million free cannabis plants to its citizens. Citizens will now be permitted to cultivate cannabis in their own homes as long as it is medical grade and used for medical purposes only.
The country’s Office of the Judiciary has also confirmed that any ongoing criminal cases related to cannabis will be suspended, and those serving prison sentences related to cannabis charges will also be released on a case-by-case basis.
In an interview with CNN, the Minister highlighted that Thai citizens are keen to become investors and producers in the medical cannabis industry.
However, the smoking or use of cannabis in “non-productive ways” will still be prohibited, Charnvirakul has stated.
Under Thailand’s Public Health Act, those that use cannabis for recreational purposes will still be subject to penalties such as an $800 fine for public consumption and three months in prison.
Speaking to CNN, Charnvirakul commented: “There has never once been a moment that we would think about advocating people to use cannabis in terms of recreation — or use it in a way that it could irritate others.”
Charnvirakul highlighted that the country would have no problem with tourists who wanted to visit Thailand for medical cannabis treatment, but that the country would not be open for recreational cannabis tourism.
Tetra Bio-Pharma expands into Australia with new research subsidiary
The Canadian company is establishing research company Tetra Bio-Pharma Australia Pty Ltd.
Tetra Bio-Pharma has announced the launch of its new wholly owned subsidiary Tetra Bio-Pharma Australia Pty Ltd, an Australian-based research company focused on the execution of clinical trials in Australia.
The new subsidiary follows the recent announcement of Tetra‘s partnership with Cannvalate Pty Ltd for the performance of clinical trials of Tetra’s drug candidates in Australia. Accordingly, TBP-AU will benefit from a 43.5 per cent tax credit on all money spent on clinical trials in Australia.
The development represents Tetra’s second foreign subsidiary and is in line with the company’s global expansion strategy for QIXLEE – a botanical inhaled investigational new drug with a fixed ratio of THC and CBD that meets USA cGMP regulatory requirements – and other future drug candidates.
Tetra Bio-Pharma CEO, Dr Guy Chamberland, commented: “We look forward to working with our strategic partners and building value for our current and future investors.
“These are very exciting times for us as we continue to drive scientific excellence and deliver on the promise of cannabinoid-derived transformative medicines to improve patient health and quality of life.”
The company has also announced it has completed the Annual Licence Review process for its Health Canada Drug Establishment Licence (DEL), meeting the regulatory requirements of C.01A.009 of the Food and Drug Regulations to maintain its DEL for the distribution of pharmaceuticals, like REDUVO, in Canada.
Tetra Bio-Pharma has also stated that it submitted its first New Drug Submission (NDS) for REDUVO – a soft gel capsule used to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) and weight loss and severe nausea in people living with HIV infection – to Health Canada to obtain a Drug Identification Number (DIN) for the prescription drug. The company is now in discussions with Health Canada to address final commentary on the submission.