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Lebanon not ready yet to legalize cannabis

7-8-2018

In an article published in Al Akhbar, an agriculture engineer and rural development specialist anticipated that the legalization of cannabis cultivation in Lebanon will contribute to reducing extreme poverty in the Beqaa through the creation of jobs and increasing public finance revenues, yet it should be well prepared through raising public awareness on the risks of personal use of marijuana. This, again, should be accompanied by an increase in living standards, a balanced and equitable distribution of natural resources and poverty control, the expert said. Regarding the medicinal use of hashish, the expert explained that medical research has not finally determined the benefits of the medicinal use of marijuana, stating that in comparison to international experience in this respect, Lebanon’s decision seems to be hasty because the foundation to set off a legalized cultivation and production of cannabis is not complete. The institutional and regulatory body, as well as the governance system in general, suffers structural imbalance which makes it difficult to deal with serious and sensitive matters, like security, judiciary, agriculture, poverty control and income distribution, the expert concluded. Meanwhile, on the front of traditional agriculture in Lebanon, Al Mustaqbal newspaper reported that with the beginning of the harvest of prickly pears, the orchards are gradually recuperating especially after the identification and control of the pest which infected four consecutive seasons of the fruit, destroying nearly 80% of the produce in the areas of Arkoob, Hasbayya and Marjey3oon. Al Mustaqbal wrote that, until recently, prickly pears were planted as a protective fence for cattle, but that now a large number of area residents are growing the crop as a reliable source of livelihood during summer. (Al Mustaqbal, Al Akhbar, August 4, 6, 2018)

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