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Israeli cannabis industry grows with seeds export to US

The seeds from the Israeli crop science firm BetterSeeds are the first in the country to be exported internationally.
An Israeli woman works among marijuana plants at the Breath Of Life Pharma greenhouse in the country's second-largest medical cannabis plantation, near Kfar Pines, northern Israel, March 9, 2016.

Israel has exported cannabis seeds abroad for the first time ever. 

Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement yesterday that seeds from the crop science company BetterSeeds were sent to the United States. There, they will be examined for marketability in the country, with more exports to follow. 

The Israeli government amended its medical cannabis export rules last year to allow for the export of cannabis seeds. The ministry is seeking to diversify its exports, boost domestic agriculture and expand the medical marijuana industry by exporting cannabis seeds, according to The Times of Israel

What is it? Cannabis seeds sprout into cannabis plants that produce the drug of the same name. Cannabis is often referred to as marijuana. 

BetterSeeds uses genetic editing technology to grow crops. The central Israel-based company’s purpose is to grow crops sustainably using less arable land.

Why it matters: Medical marijuana is a growing industry in Israel, and some companies have reported large profits recently. Marijuana for recreational use is fairly common in Israel as well. It is not legal, but has been somewhat decriminalized recently. There is increasing pressure to fully legalize the drug in Israel. 

Know more: Earlier this month, an Israeli company revealed a nasal spray that utilizes psychedelic mushrooms. Like cannabis, the mushrooms have the ability to treat a variety of ailments, including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.