Top Cannabis Headlines This WeekIsrael takes center stage this week as news laws permit cannabis exports. Meanwhile, cannabis investments continue to ramp up.
Israel Now Allows Medical Cannabis Exports
Last Sunday, the government of Israel approved the export of Israeli-grown medical cannabis to the worldwide legal market. Israel has long been a cannabis cultivation pioneer, and the news was undoubtedly well-received by the country’s professionals.
Israel was among the first countries to experiment with cannabis cultivation and extraction technologies, leading the industry and contributing to the legalization cause. However, cannabis growers have been reportedly unsettled over the fact that the government was reluctant to allow exports. The bill was passed last month and dictates that licenses will be granted by the Health Ministry and will require the approval of the police.
“The export of medical cannabis will give the State of Israel a huge advantage in connecting research and development with agriculture and the cannabis industry, it will bring significant foreign currency revenues into the state and will maximize the advantages that the State of Israel possesses throughout the production chain,” claimed Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.
Vangst: An HR Solution for the Cannabis Industry Raises $10 Million in Funding
Vangst, a Denver-based startup raised $10 million in Series A funding, having secured backing from VC fund Lerer Hippeau and Casa Verde Capital. In doing so, it becomes the world’s most promising recruiting platform in the cannabis industry.
Although interest is high, with many people interested in securing a career in the industry, there is a glaring gap in recruitment. Potential employees don’t know where to look, and emerging cannabis companies are struggling to find qualified candidates. Vangst promises to solve that problem, by connecting recruits to suitable positions.
In an interview on TechCrunch, Karson Humiston, founder, and CEO of the company stated filling jobs was unusually complicated, since most traditional job boards would not allow the listings. “By the spring of 2016, I realized that demand far exceeded interns and recent grads and that we needed to find recruiters who know what they’re doing. We brought on recruiters who were just focused on cultivation, for example, and who know the difference between someone who can grow cannabis in the garage and someone who has done the large-scale agricultural growing,” said Humiston.
Former Yahoo CEO Invests $75 Million in Cannabis Startup
San Jose-based cannabis company Caliva announced a $75 million round of investment from Liquid 2 Ventures, a fund that includes former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and legendary quarterback Joe Montana. The company plans to utilize the hefty investment to expand its product line and open up new stores in California. Last year, Caliva increased its revenues by 350%, despite the strict state regulations.
Joe Montana joined the club of athletes that endorse the use of CBD products by sportspeople. “As an investor and supporter, it is my opinion that Caliva’s strong management team will successfully develop and bring to market quality health and wellness products that can provide relief to many people and can make a serious impact on opioid use or addiction,” Montana stated in a High Times interview. “I know great opportunities when I see them,” said Bartz, who will also join the company’s board of directors.
OurCrowd partners with 7thirty to Invest $30 Million in Cannabis Technology
According to a joint announcement, last Wednesday, Israeli crowdsourcing platform OurCrowd and 7thirty capital are partnering up to build a global cannabis tech venture capital fund. The $30 million fund will be active globally (including the US, Canada, and Israel) but will be based in Colorado. Investments will mainly focus on cannabis industry tech companies in the agricultural, medical, retail and e-commerce sectors. Micah Tapman, one of the first cannabis tech investors in the US will oversee the project.
“The amount of serious medical research in cannabis is booming. This market will generate unprecedented global investment activity and returns for cannabis-focused startups,” said John Medved, OurCrowd CEO.
Abaca: A Cannabis Industry Lending Platform
Arkansas-based banking company Abaca announced Tuesday that they now offer loans to the cannabis industry through their platform. Access to capital was a significant pain point for cannabis professionals that the company hopes to solve. Working with Colorado experts, Abaca will be working directly with cannabis businesses to help them obtain financing for real estate, equipment, inventory, and manufacture. Along with the new services, Abaca also announced the opening of their new lending office in Denver.