Lebanon to legalise cannabis cultivation to boost economy

Lebanon is set to legalise cannabis cultivation and its production for medicinal use.

Although no time frame has been specified and no government is currently in place due to ongoing negotiations in the wake of a general election in May, House Speaker Nabih Berri has told US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard that legalisation has broad political backing since a report by consulting firm McKinsey & Co recommended the move in order to boost the country’s weak economy.

Economy Minister Raed Khoury recently boasted that the quality of Lebanon’s cannabis was “one of the best in the world”.

Lebanon is one of the top five producers of cannabis resin in the world, according the 2016 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Cannabis in Lebanon is grown illegally in the Bekaa Valley, considered one of the strongholds of the militant group Hezbollah. Hashish production in the country supplies other markets in the region, according to the 2016 UNODC report.

Lebanon joins more than 25 countries exploring the possible benefits of cannabis legalisation.

Cannabis is “the most widely cultivated, produced, trafficked and consumed drug worldwide”, according to the World Drug Report.

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