David Wainer of Bloomberg News has found a new spin on reporting the impact of the heightened security between Israel and it's surrounding hostile neighbors - it has forced the Israelis to start growing their own weed.
Any long-time readers of this blog will observe that I am a sucker for a business news-style report on otherwise illegal activity for what it reveals about the form as well as for its ability to compel an audience to view a controversial issue objectively.
Wainer achieves that in spades with his report today.
“From a public interest standpoint, this is a positive development,” said Boaz Wachtel, founder of Alei Yarok, or the Green Leaf Party, and a key figure in bringing medicinal cannabis to the country. “The stuff grown inside Israel is of higher quality. Some hash coming in from Lebanon was just clay mixed with sap.” Even better, Wachtel says: Drug money is no longer going to places “that shoot missiles at us.”
We pause to point out that in general, global trade is a positive for increased quality, pricing and availability of goods and services but clearly there are unique circumstances at work here.
The rest of the article is a review of the state of marijuana legalization in Israel, where medical uses are very highly accepted but recreational use is viewed less favorably than in the United States.
Wainer quotes activists, academics, politicians, recounts public controversies in the area and how they impact the ongoing debate. It's a fine example of a well-researched business article.
Wainer notes that the laws of supply and demand are hard at work in the Promised Land.
In the meantime, Israeli growers are sprouting to feed the black market, estimated at $700 million a year, according to the Market Studies institute. A decade ago about 70 percent of Israeli cannabis came through Egypt and Lebanon, Wachtel estimates. These days less than a third comes from those two countries and Jordan, and the rest is local.
The article is not mocking, snide or celebratory. It reports the facts well in an engaging manner. Those facts support my preferred policy outcome of decriminalization.