Israel opens “anti-dumping” investigation into cannabis imports from Canada

| David Brown

Israel’s Ministry of Economy has sent notice to cannabis producers in Canada that it is initiating an anti-dumping investigation concerning the importation of medical cannabis from Canada to Israel. 

A notice on the Israeli Government’s website dated January 18, 2024, is addressed to 10 different Canadian cannabis producers: Village Farms International, Organigram Holdings, Tilray Canada, Hexo Corp (owned by Tilray), The Green Organic Dutchman, Canopy Growth Corporation, SNDL, Cronos Group, Auxly Cannabis Group, Decibel Cannabis, and “all the medical cannabis manufacturers in Canada who export their goods to Israel.”

“The Commissioner for Trade Levies at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, announced by virtue of his authority according to Section 24(d) of the Law on Trade Levies and Defence Measures, 5591 – 1991, of his decision to open an investigation on his own initiative into the export import of cannabis from Canada, after he found that special circumstances of actual damage exist or the probability of actual damage to the local manufacturing industry and a causal link between the imported imports and said damage.” reads the document, translated. 

It also contains a questionnaire for importers and exporters, which includes questions about financial statements of the company over the last three years, descriptions of the company’s ownership structure, as well as questions about the products and prices, THC and CBD levels, shipping terms, payments, and much more.

The document notes the action is being taken due to “special circumstances” and concerns over Canadian companies flooding the Israeli market with cannabis products. 

The notice also includes a letter sent to Michael Mancini, the Chief Commercial Counselor with the Embassy of Canada, informing them of the investigation, dated January 15, 2024. 

Canadian cannabis companies have been increasingly sending cannabis products to markets like Israel, Australia, and Germany, followed by Argentina, the UK, and the US.

Data presented last year by Health Canada indicated that cannabis exports may continue to increase significantly, with more than a thousand applications already submitted as of September 12, 2023. Canada has exported 140,958.40 kg of dried cannabis and 37,230.01 litres of cannabis oil since October 2020, with almost half of that dried cannabis (62,535.65 kg) exported in the last 12 months of data from Health Canada (July 2022-June 2023).

The federal regulator has received 1,211 applications from Canadian companies seeking to export cannabis since the beginning of the fiscal year on April 1, 2023, and has approved 1,147. In a presentation made online on Tuesday, October 24, a representative with Health Canada said they expect these numbers to continue to increase. 

The number of applications and permits issued has been increasing on an annual basis, with 1,805 permits issued in 2022-2023, 1,421 in the previous year, 1,267 in 2020-21, 1,213 in 2019-20, and 272 in 2018-19.

Canada only allows the export of cannabis for medical or scientific purposes, or for hemp products.

Some Canadian cannabis brands listed by an Israeli cannabis company, Bol Phrama

Israel had more than 132,000 patients registered to receive cannabis for medical purposes as of November 2023. It began allowing imports of cannabis in 2019. A report in the Jerusalem Post in January 2023 referred to the decision to allow medical cannabis to be imported into Israel as one that has “pushed local growers and producers to desperation.” The country’s demand for cannabis at the time of the article was 52 tons per year while Israel’s own growing and production capacity is around 100 tons, continued the article.

According to Israel’s Cannabis Magazine, the investigation was triggered by five Israeli cannabis companies contacted the ministry with concerns that cannabis imports were causing prices to drop too low for them to compete.