Miles of Cannabis can make Lebanon rich
Miles of cannabis can make Lebanon rich 800 million dollars a year, that is what the Lebanese Minister of Economic Affairs thinks his country can earn with the legalization of cannabis cultivation in the Bekaa Valei.
It is not meant to be sold as the popular hashish type Red Lebanon, but the idea is to trade cannabis oil legally for medical purposes. Miles of illegal cannabis plants are already waving in the wind, ready for harvest. A characteristic picture of the situation in Lebanon. The cultivation of cannabis is forbidden, yet the fields reach to the road, and the green gold is grown open and exposed. Sometimes the government intervenes, but they prefer to look the other way. That is why Minister of Economic Affairs, Raed Khoury, wants to get rid of the ban.
The millions are disappearing in the pockets of traders and smugglers. After legalization, the government can introduce a compulsory license and levy taxes on it. Not only the minister, but also the growers feel for legalization. According to Khoury, it will not only bring in money, it will also make the growers feel more comfortable. "Until we researched this, cannabis was a taboo in Lebanon, even talking about it."
Trade in Red Lebanon today is a lot harder than it was a few years ago. Most hashish was transported to other parts of the world via Syria. But because of the war, the country is locked up, and there is only a small amount of drugs crossing the border. "It's a difficult year, it's better if the government buys our cannabis", according to a local grower.
Legalization is no reality yet. Lebanon currently has no government, since the elections in May. But if Raed Khoury can again take office as Minister of Economic Affairs, he will make the legalization of cannabis a priority. And there will be a legal harvest next September.