5 cannabis startups to watch now that Israel has passed decriminalization law
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Photo credit: Yissum

Photo credit: Yissum

Here are a few ingenious companies that should spark your interest

With the passage of decriminalization today, Israel became the latest country to have altered the state legal status of cannabis, thus ending the prosecution of first-time offenders.

According to reports in Haaretz, smokers caught in public on their first offense will be subject to a $271 (₪1000) fine instead of prosecution. However, for those that push their luck, the measures get progressively more severe with the fourth offense leading to potential jail time.

While Israel has long been at the forefront of medicinal cannabis research, due in large part to the work of Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the move toward allowing for recreational use is new. It comes on the heels of the decision by the Internal Security committee to shift their focus away from punitive measures in favor of educational programs on substance abuse.

With the ink still drying on the new initiative, proponents of cannabis reform have already come out to express their optimism over the long term repercussions of the decision.

“Decriminalizing cannabis in Israel is another step towards creating a Canna-Tech global industry, with Israel at the forefront,” iCan CEO and Co-founder Saul Kaye told the press in his statement. “This step, although not legitimizing use, is due to reduce the negative perception of the plant as ‘immoral or ‘criminal’, increasing openness to its outstanding medicinal & wellness properties.”

As the head of Israel’s medicinal cannabis startup accelerator, Kaye believes that “The decision will significantly increase entrepreneurship and investment into cannabis in Israel, create numerous jobs, and in fact, the country is reaching new heights in cannabis R&D and cannabis-related industry investments.”

So who are some of the young companies that could benefit from cannabis use becoming more accepted? Here are a few shiny ones that caught our attention.

Leaf

Looking to grow your own but have two brown thumbs? Leaf raised a $2 million seed round – get it? – back in August to push forward their self-contained growing unit. This device helps users manage everything from start to finish when it dries out the buds for you, all inside of their climate controlled refrigerator-like grower. Their app allows for careful monitoring of important factors like light, humidity, and others that can affect the quality of your plants.

Expected to retail for around $1,000, this could be a nifty option for folks who want to more consistently control the quality of their cannabis, watching it grow from seed to full grown bud. Thinking ahead, the device includes a carbon filter designed to prevent odors from escaping out and bothering the neighbors.

Stink Sacks

Speaking of keeping the smell under control, just because cannabis has been decriminalized doesn’t mean that you won’t face harassment if you stink of something sticky.

The good folks at Stink Sacks believe that they have the solution. These supposedly child-proof bags – which could prove to be challenging to some less than able adults – promise to keep the smell of your weed in check.

Seedo

Want another grow at home option? Give Seedo a try. Also sporting a clean looking app, this grow box also makes the claim to simplify the process of sprouting your own green from seedling or cutting, to full bloom.

Making more of an effort than Leaf to show that this device is not just for raising cannabis, Seedo has settings for a wide variety of veggies and herbs. Also like their fellow Israeli startup, they don’t appear to have a product on the market, offering their future clients to subscribe to a mailing list for updates.

From the looks of Seedo, Leaf, and a number of other easy grow options, it looks like these startups are counting on the laziness of smokers to drive sales. I guess they’ve never heard of the MacGyver stoner — 10 points, a snorkel, an avocado, and an ice pick if you get the Half Baked reference.

Plus Gum

The word of edibles can be varied and muddied. everyone wants to bake the next pot brownie. But Jake Heimark, formerly of Facebook, decided to create a cannabis ‘edibles’ company with an unusual product: chewing gum.

Photo Credit: Plus Gum

Why gum? It directed addressed two major complaints about edibles: Higher calorie count and slow release time of effects. At last report, the company was in the middle of securing seed funding.

New Frontiers Financials

Through the haze, it can be easy to forget that these moves away from illegality are making the cannabis market extremely appealing to investors. While venture capitalists may be used to putting their money into risky businesses, this has been a sticky one to say the least.

However as it becomes more viable, they need better data on which to base their investments. Looking to provide this crucial information is John Kagia’s New Frontiers Financials, whose DC-based company is looking to provide big data analytics exclusively for the cannabis market.

Catching up with Kagia at last year’s iCan’s CannaTech conference in Tel Aviv, he told Geektime that they want to bring transparency and visibility into an industry that is growing explosively but where there is very little good data on which decision makers can rely.

“We aim to be the Bloomberg of cannabis, an online platform where their users can access to navigate through the collected data to find the info that they need,” Kagia says.

Market predictions for cannabis. Image Credit: New Frontier Financials

“Investors want to know how the different aspects of this industry, both medical and adult sides, but also on the ancillary services that support this industry. This is an industry that needs all of these services from legal, to accounting, tech support. It is an industry that is literally being built from the ground up.”

Interested in more cannabis related startups? Check out more of our lists 10 marijuana startups worth hitting up and The 5 most unusual cannabis products you’ve heard of this week

Brit McGinnis contributed to this reporting

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Gabriel Avner

About Gabriel Avner


Gabriel has an unhealthy obsession with new messaging apps, social media and pretty much anything coming out of Apple. An experienced security and conflict consultant, he has written for The Diplomatic Club, the Marine War College, and covers military affairs with TLV1 radio. He mostly enjoys reading articles wherever his ADD leads him to and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. EEED 44D4 B8F4 24BE F77E 2DEA 0243 CBD1 3F7C F4B6

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