Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has joined medical cannabis firm Univo Pharmaceuticals as an investor and adviser, the Israeli company announced this week.
Details of any investment in Univo on Olmert’s part were not immediately clear.
Univo is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and has licenses for the cultivation, research and development, production, and distribution of its own cannabis products. The company owns 74 percent of a cannabis growth farm.
Olmert served as Israeli PM from 2006 to 2009 when he stepped down amid graft accusations. He served two-thirds of a 27-month sentence and was released on parole in 2017. Olmert previously served as Israel’s Minister of Health from 1990-1992, and as mayor of Jerusalem.
Univo said Olmert will “contribute his vast experience and help promote Univo’s business goals both in Israel and globally, and will support the company’s future fundraising efforts.”
The company says it specialized in growing high-quality cannabis “while developing a diverse product line using innovative technologies and unique medical cannabis strain genetics.”
“The tech revolution has entered the medical cannabis space and is expediting all R&D, manufacturing, and even regulatory procedures, with the goal of relieving pain for patients suffering from a spectrum of diseases,” Olmert said in a company statement. “Israel is stepping up and joining the world’s most progressive nations in developing a pivotal local industry that has the potential to contribute to global medical cannabis R&D efforts.
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“After I examined Israel’s top medical cannabis companies, I chose to contribute my experience and knowledge to Univo, because I believe that Univo has the best chance of becoming an independent entity when it comes to manufacturing and distributing top cannabis-based products. I am thankful for the opportunity to step in and help this company become a global leader,” he added.
Olmert also heads a private VC firm that invests in medical technology companies in Israel.
“I am proud of this partnership with a fierce leader with a distinguished track record,” said Ido Hagag, a Univo investor and a prominent real estate figure in Israel. “I have no doubt that Mr. Olmert’s connections with global markets and his capabilities in the health sector will help steer our company towards improving patient care worldwide.”
“We’re proud to have Mr. Olmert supporting our vision and putting his trust in our manufacturing and supply chain. This is a major milestone for Univo that soon enough will bear fruit,” Hagag said.
Olmert is the second ex-PM to have joined the growing medical cannabis firm in Israel, following Ehud Barak who serves as chairman of Intercure/Canndoc.
Speaking at the annual CannaTech conference in Tel Aviv earlier this month, Barak said Israel was the “land of milk, honey, and cannabis.”