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The affair of the cannabis export: the ministers are making noise - but only Netanyahu will decide

The ministers throw mud at each other, Knesset members make unnecessary discussions in committees, and others just enjoy the opportunity for good public relations, but the question of exporting medical cannabis from Israel will be decided only by a person - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Within two days last week, no less than 6 ministers and members of Knesset published announcements concerning the export of medical cannabis abroad, and aroused the cannabis industry and the investors in the stock exchange.

Most of the statements, all of them, dealt with complaints against Minister Gilad Erdan and the delay that is causing the move. The source of the dispute is Ardan's demand that before the export is approved, a legislative process agreed upon by all the parties will be completed, with the goal of transferring authority to the police to supervise the cannabis farm in Israel.

On the other hand, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and the other government ministries with him want to permit exports immediately - even before this legislation. "Ardan's demand for legislation prior to approval is done in order to block the process for an unlimited period of time," Kahlon said In the letter Which he sent to the cabinet secretary.

Moshe Kahlon Gilad Erdan (Photo: Noam Rivkin)
Conflicts. Moshe Kahlon and Gilad Erdan (Photo: Noam Rivkin)

But despite the relative aggressiveness and urgency of Kahlon, his office refuses to explain why it is not possible to wait several weeks for the short legislative process to be completed, after which exports will be approved. "Prefer not to reply at this point they say." This fact alone suggests perhaps that the debate is not principled, but more publicity and personal.

The War of Kahlon - Arden

The truth must be said: Arden is no longer the problem of the export issue. Although he posed many difficulties on the way, especially in light of police demands, his current demand to end a short legislative process that transfers mandatory powers to the police even before the export permit is an understandable and logical one.

In particular, this demand does not prevent or hinder exports at all. Either way if exports are approved it will take several months at the very least to prepare the ground for the actual start of exports. The legislative process can be completed within a few weeks, so the demand really does not prevent or hinder exports.

"This is not only wrong, but also insolent and disgusting," sources close to Aradan claim in response to a letter from the finance minister. According to some of them, Kahlon wants an electoral gain from the farmers' community, entrepreneurs and investors.

Between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Public Security, serious arguments have arisen along the way, including verbal violence that has almost reached physical violence. The letter, published this week, appeared to be another blow to the cabinet.

Newspaper headlines and panel discussions

24 did not pass hours from Kahlon's letter, and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked published a press release to which Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel also joined. The statement said that they, too, are very supportive of the move and think that Arden is preventing him for reasons that are unclear. A year ago, the two promised that "exports will be approved in two weeks." Perhaps the two feel obligated to at least keep their promise, even if not at the time they declared.

Simultaneously, MKs from the Likud, MK Sharan Haskel, and MK Yoav Kish, also published similar messages. Kish also announced the convening of a discussion of his private export bill in the Interior Committee he is running. This suggestion is retrieved by Quiche whenever the subject is in the headlines. In the discussions themselves, or after them, nothing happens.

The opposition did not miss the opportunity to ride the wave of public relations. MK Tamar Zandberg announced the convening of a committee to discuss the issue of exports again for the tenth time in the past year. This committee is devoid of any real authority, and its deliberations end without a decision.

Only Netanyahu will decide

But it is not Kahlon or Arden who decide whether and when exports will be approved. Only Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will cut the fate of this struggle, which has been going on for years. All the rest, including attempts to bring guilt among ministers, are just newspaper headlines and an attempt to get exposure ahead of the forthcoming 2019 elections.

Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Miriam Alster)
The only one that will determine the fate of exports. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Miriam Alster)

The clearest proof that this is in the hands of Bibi and none other is that all the ministers, including the most senior members of the government, are trying to push the issue forward and he has not moved. Another proof is that the subject has reached the desk of Cabinet Secretary Braverman, who depends only on Netanyahu's decision whether to raise a government debate or reject any proposal.

An interesting question is why politicians are so important to publicize that they support exports. It is certainly reasonable that this is a sincere attempt to help the move by putting pressure on Netanyahu through headlines in the media, but some say that this is simply a foresight and a realization that Netanyahu does not intend to approve exports. This understanding may be based on the mysterious phone call that Bibi received from the American uncle while the ministers sat with him in the office (details of the story for those who can not remember - Here).

Until Netanyahu makes his recommendation, ministers and MKs can pick up some more headlines and public relations that cannabis gives. These ministers have never been interested in or helped the cannabis issue - not about the patients and certainly not about the consumers of leisure.


Cannabis fines

(Starting with 1 in April 2019)

Based on a figure revealed by Minister Erdan. Police refuse to reveal official figureDetails here)

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