An Israeli agri-tech company recently completed its first-ever shipment of medical cannabis seeds to a licensed producer in Canada.
BetterSeeds, in partnership with their Canadian partners Canbreed Canada, a licensed producer located near Montreal, completed the transfer earlier this year.
The company says it focuses on non-GMO genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9 to create a novel breed of seeds and crop traits that addresses the 21st century. BetterSeeds CEO, Ido Margali, says the seeds represent a unique cultivar that is “100% stable and uniform“.
The current batch of seeds now in Canada is for trial purposes, explains Michael Druckman of Canbreed Canada. Once successful varieties are selected, the company plans to produce them on-site.
“The current batch of seeds has been sent as starting material. It’s the intention of the company to conduct commercial scale production locally at the site,” Druckman tells StratCann. “In parallel, the company initiated a process for…Health Canada to enable import of commercial batches of true F1 cannabis seeds that meet the standards dictated by seed law and regulations.”
Health Canada only allows the import of cannabis and cannabis starting materials like seeds under fairly limited medical and research purposes. Only federally-licensed cannabis producers are allowed to import (or export) cannabis.
Until recently, Israel also did not allow the export of cannabis seeds, a law BetterSeeds CEO Margalli, along with others, helped to change. The company also recently completed their first export of seeds into the US market.
“Israel has the ability to make its mark [on the industry] and be among the world’s leaders,” said Israeli Agriculture Minister Oded Forer in a statement earlier this year. CanBreed’s site in Israel is comprised of a 12,000-square-foot facility that includes offices, R&D labs, a seed testing and processing facility, in addition to a 45,000-square-foot farm. CanBreed’s fully-owned subsidiary company in the USA also operates a 140,000-square-foot hemp seed production farm for the US market.