“The cannabis bubble has burst,” Dr. Tamir Gedo, the CEO of Breath of Life Pharma, admitted over the weekend after the Israeli medical marijuana firm’s plans for an initial public offering in Canada failed. Last May BOL had been eyeing an IPO at a valuation of over $1 billion.
A year ago, the medical cannabis sector in Israel was riding high. Companies like InterCure were appointing celebrities like former prime minister Ehud Barak to top jobs, while investors were bidding up share prices into the hundreds of millions of shekels amid hopes that the government would clear the way for exports. Israel has years of leading marijuana research under its belt and all it needed were markets to sell its products to.
But a year later things haven’t worked out as expected. The Health Ministry’s medical marijuana unit failed to prevent criminal groups from getting hold of marijuana grown on local farms. In recent months facilities run by the companies Better and Ilan Bio suffered break-ins and the loss of seedlings.