Cannabis research has become a hot topic among Israeli start-ups.
Last week in Jaffa, investors, inventors and researchers gathered at Canna Tech to discuss the potential of marijuana technologies and research.
David Oren, the managing partner of Israeli VC firm Pirveli Ventures, said that the cannabis field is the perfect place for research and start-ups right now.
Marijuana is the “lowest-hanging fruit right now, because medical cannabis growers have money and they are willing to adopt new technologies much faster than other kinds of growers,” Oren explained. “There is a lot of buzz among US investors about this.”
With cannabis research banned in the United States, however, many have flocked to Israel where marijuana research is taken seriously.
Unlike in other countries where the industry is full of charlatans “in Israel there is interest in establishing international standards that could revolutionize the cannabis industry,” Karin Kloosterman, who organized Canna Tech, said.
Kloosterman also said the technology being developed is not just for growing better pot. The same technologies to grow cannabis may one day help feed the poor.
“You find Israelis everywhere the cannabis scene as master growers and investors. They have this world of knowledge and we want to connect them to one another and to investors,” Kloosterman, whose own start-up is looking to simplify hydroponic growing.
“My mission is to create a tool to feed the world, and I think what’s happening in the cannabis community can be a model for that,” she said.
Dr. Alan Shackelford moved from Denver to Israel so that he could be on the cutting edge of medical marijuana research.
He thinks Israel can lead the field in marijuana-related treatments.
There is “considerable evidence of the benefits of using cannabis for many medical conditions, and there is huge worldwide interest in Israel as a focus of research and experience in using cannabis medically,” he said, adding that Israel “was one of the first to establish a medical cannabis program” and has been consistently investing time and effort into cannabis research ever since.