>> Israel's medical marijuana growers are attracting international investment as the country attempts to position itself as a top dealer. Putting its science credentials upfront while foreign firms have bought up some $100 million in health patents in the last year alone. Reuters' Lianne Back in Tel Aviv.>> I'm here at Israel's Cannatech Conference where some 800 investors, growers of medical cannabis, startup companies, and researchers have come to talk marijuana.
Israel, while being considered at the forefront of research and development, is only a small market of some 30,000 patients. It is now looking into allowing the export of the plant, a move that could bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the country.>> Israel is a leader in research and development into marijuana.
It's the only country in the world with standards differentiating medical grade product from recreational drugs. And in contrast with the United States, which is the biggest market for marijuana, Israeli authorities are quite liberal in supporting the science, going back as far as the 1960s. Estimates suggest the worldwide market for medical marijuana could be worth about $50 billion over the next decade.
But there's one problem.>> As one of the lawyers we spoke to today here in Tel Aviv said, the biggest export market everybody's looking for is the US. But currently, the US is closed for import of anything that has to do with cannabis or marijuana. So people are looking at other markets as well, Europe, Latin America, Asia.
Investors are looking to expand to wherever they can export medical cannabis to.>> An industry looking for a high, of the legal and lucrative kind.