Ehud Barak On Why He Took Up Cannabis
In September, Barak, Israel’s most highly decorated soldier, was appointed as chairman of Israeli medical cannabis company InterCure
Ehud Barak, one of Israel’s most prominent public figures, has recently ventured into a new line of business—cannabis. In September, Barak, Israel’s most highly decorated soldier, a former general chief of staff of the Israeli military, and the country’s tenth prime minister, was appointed chairman of Israeli medical cannabis company InterCure Ltd.
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Referring to his new role at the opening of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Wednesday, Barak commented on the seemingly unlikely appointment.
“I have always been curious, and I have a background in science,” he said.
Ehud Barak. Photo: Moti Lewton
“I am still studying this field,” Barak said. “While I have never inhaled or exhaled cannabis, it is clear to me that the medical benefits of cannabis merit long and meaningful investment.”
“Many people my age suffer multiple conditions which cannabis can alleviate,” Barak said. “They will be willing to pay good money. All we need to do is continue study cannabis and deeply understand these materials.”
On Wednesday, Tel Aviv-listed InterCure announced it has raised $12 million (NIS 45 million) in private placement. Half of the sum was invested by the company’s controlling shareholder Alex Rabinovich, and the rest by Gary Fegel, founder of Zurich-based GMF Capital LLC. The company is currently up as much as 28.04% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
“These $12 million do not meet the company’s vision, but I have no doubt we can raise the necessary funds,” Barak said.
Shortly before it announced Barak’s appointment, InterCure, which functions as a holding company, acquired Israeli cannabis cultivator Canndoc Ltd. for an undisclosed amount. Canndoc is licensed in Israel to produce and market medical cannabis.
Set to lead InterCure’s global expansion strategy, Barak is set to earn $10,000 for 40 hours per month and receive stock options convertible into 5% of InterCure stock, the company said in September.
Following his 2012 retirement from politics, Barak entered Israel’s tech and finance sector through a number of investments. He is an early investor and chairman of the board of Israeli emergency response startup Carbyne (listed as Reporty Homeland Security Ltd.), and is also the co-founder of Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity company Toka, registered as Cybertoka Ltd.