JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has halted a plan to export medical marijuana for fear of upsetting President Donald Trump.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the plan to be frozen early this week despite support from the Health, Agriculture and Finance ministries, Hadashot news reported Wednesday evening.
Netanyahu told the heads of the ministries he ordered the freeze after receiving a call about the issue of exporting marijuana from Trump, who is against its legalization. The prime minister made it clear that he did not want Israel to be a pioneer in the export of medical marijuana in order not to anger the U.S. president, according to the report. Canada is the only country that has approved the export of medical marijuana.
A Finance Ministry representative reportedly suggested that Israel could avoiding export to the United States in order to appease Trump, leading Netanyahu to respond that would not necessarily serve Israeli interests to go against the Trump administration’s policy.
A government committee had determined that the export of cannabis would bring between 285 million to $1.14 billion a year to the Israeli economy, according to the report.
An estimated 50 Israeli medical marijuana companies work in cultivating plants or producing delivery devices for the drug, according to Reuters.
Israeli kibbutzes see the export of medical marijuana as a way to revitalize their communities.