NIR OZ, Israel — Israel’s iconic community farm, known as Kibbutz, has been endangered since the transition to capitalism 40 years ago. But now a new source of lucrative income promises to keep the Kibbutz movement alive: cannabis.
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“We feel like we can be pioneers,” said Gilbinovic, 33, who manages cultivation at Niruoz’s Intercure Marijuana Farm in the Negev Desert, less than three miles from the Gaza Strip. rice field.
Kibbutz spent about 40 acres growing marijuana. In the cave greenhouse, plants in biodegradable bags are lined up on long tables, and there are a variety of custom varieties in shades of green and purple. Sensors monitor the plant and about 100 workers with protective covers trim, dry, and harden the cannabis-using technology that the company claims to enhance the medicinal properties of the plant. 4,444 kibbutz like Niruoz have entered Israel’s fast-growing medical marijuana industry and are becoming mainstream in Israel, says Saul Kaye, a pharmacist and founder of the cannabis dispensing group HiPharm.
After Israel approved the export of marijuana in 2020 and legislators introduced a bill to make cannabis available domestically last fall, the country is now with hundreds of new cannabis-related jobs and two ~ a year. It expects a $ 300 million economic plunge. Statement by the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Health. The Israel Innovation Authority has announced an investment of approximately $ 10 million to open a cannabis incubator in the desert city of Jerham, southern Israel, and an investment of approximately $ 40 million by Israeli private cannabis manufacturer Breath of Life.
“It took time to get a critical population of about 40,000 patients here in Israel, which had an impact,” said Kay, who said more members of the Israeli parliament met people on prescriptions for medical marijuana. I started. “Now the government wants to make this an industry.”
Today, more than 100,000 Israelis hold permits to allow possession or use of medical marijuana. These include Israeli soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorders for which cannabis treatment is paid for by the government and children with epilepsy and autism whose treatment is primarily funded by national HMOs. Use for recreational purposes is still illegal, but small possessions were criminalized three years ago.
During the early uncertain decades of Israel, Kibbutz was the country’s breadbasket, and its members exerted great influence in parliament and the Knesset. According to the socialist ideology, residents had to earn the same wages, eat together in the canteen, send their children to homes away from their parents, ask for permission to use shared cars and travel abroad. .. But the kibbutzim were threatened as capitalism took hold and younger members fled for jobs elsewhere.
Recently, however, an increasing number are returning, and the kibbutzim are rebranding. Nir Oz, for instance, has abandoned its original communal model. Families now live together in their own private homes, and the farm also employs nonmembers.
Binovitch, who moved to Nir Oz after years as a cannabis trimmer in Californias Sonoma Valley, is part of a new generation of Israelis who see working in weed on a kibbutz as preferable to employment in the country’s main technology hub, centered in Israels expensive and traffic-clogged central region. On the kibbutz, said Rabinovich joyfully, there’s not much to do besides grabbing a drink at the sole local pub, visiting with neighbors, and driving along with the rugged desert landscapes.
“Living close to the farm makes it easy for you to have a balanced lifestyle,” said Binovitch, who often wears a smile on his well-tanned face and rides to work on an electric bike. “You have your weekends, and if you need to do small bits and pieces, you can go over and then get back to your life.”
Marijuana farming is the next frontier for Israel, which has for decades been at the vanguard of cannabis research.
In the 1960s, Raphael Mechoulam, a professor at Hebrew University known today in the industry as the “grandfather of cannabis research,” analyzed a stash of Lebanese hashish and was the first to isolate and then synthesize marijuana`s psychoactive ingredients. His research has led to projects to stabilize THC and CBD at the state-run Volcani Institute, studies on which strains have greater pain relief properties at the Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research at Hebrew University, and clinical trials on the efficacy and safety of cannabis oil for children with autism at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in central Israel.
Researchers have only just begun to understand the potential for treating neurological and physical illnesses, but industry experts expect studies to advance more quickly now that they are being integrated into largescale projects on kibbutzim, which conduct research in both onsite and offsite labs.
While kibbutzim were “once about survival,” he added, they are now poised to play a central role in a cannabis industry that has “turned from being a dream, a great story — into a business where you need to show a bottom line every quarter.”
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