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Legalization of cannabis in Lebanon faces hurdles

8-1-2019

In a special feature on January 5, Al Akhbar recapped the latest developments on the legalization of cannabis in Lebanon. The newspaper reminded its readers about the debate last July by the sub-committee assigned to draft a bill to this end, especially after the release of the McKinsey report which considered that legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes will boost the economy and bring in roughly USD one billion to the treasury. Al Akhbar wrote that, in the craze for the promised legalization, two draft laws resurfaced, that were submitted respectively by the Lebanese Forces and the Liberation and Development Blocs, pointing to a third one underway prepared by pharmaceutical companies. However, none of the said laws will be ratified, according to members of the above sub-committee. In its analysis, the newspaper mentioned that one of the factors is linked to internal obstacles, and the second to studies which have found that there are no favorable conditions for its implementation in proposed areas. Al Akhbar went on to say, that in light of previous field surveys, while cannabis grown here are meant for human consumption rather than for medicinal uses, the proposed type is overpriced. On the farmers’ front, Al Akhbar said that laws and types of cannabis are of no interest to them, but what really concerns them is the quota and the quantity, pointing out that the enforcement of the quota on the supplies to be delivered to the government reduces their profits. They fear that they might have to repeatedly face the experience with the Regie, the exclusive distributor of tobacco locally, the newspaper wrote, pointing to the favoritism in the delivery of licenses and the poor prices. Citing members of the above committee, Al Akhbar said, in light of the inability of the government to control this agriculture and prevent its exploitation by big mafia bosses, there are fears that the Lebanese society could become a marijuana user society. What is needed, the newspaper concluded, is the conduction of a comprehensive feasibility study, otherwise, no future for cannabis in this country. (The article is found in Arabic on the following link: https://bit.ly/2ReXSYH)

Previous related news:
Further consultations on legalizing cannabis and tobacco farmers protest prices
McKinsey Plan for Lebanon: endorse agriculture, legalize cannabis
USD 400 million in proceeds after the legalisation of cannabis 
Cannabis legalization: Concerns in Beqaa over licensing and profit distribution
Regie to manage administration, export of cannabis
Three development projects by Regie in Baalbaq

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