Lebanon’s joint parliamentary committees on Wednesday approved the draft law to regulate the cultivation of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes. The draft law will then go to the General Assembly of the House of Representatives for approval in its final form.
The joint committees have met to study the project of cannabis cultivation for medical and industrial use. Said the chairman of the committee and Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies. Elie Ferzli, at a press conference at the Parliament’s headquarters in Beirut.
There is the possibility of considerable economic benefits for the country through this cultivation. And it will also help to stop illegal cannabis cultivation… Therefore, this proposal was approved by an overwhelming majority of MPs,” said Farzli.
Cannabis in lebanon
In 2018, the consulting firm McKinsey was indeed commissioned by the Lebanese government to find economic development paths for the country. Concerning cannabis. The report proposed to develop the cultivation and export of Lebanese medical cannabis, which could bring in up to 1 billion dollars. The then Minister of Economy, Raëd Khoury, estimated that it could reach $4 billion, “the quality we have [being] one of the best in the world.
The country is indeed the third largest hashish-producing country in the world after Afghanistan and Morocco. Lebanon historically used cannabis to fund its militias during the civil war that lasted until 1990. Since then, the country has been trying to curb cultivation by paying farmers to stop growing it. The lack of compensation and the increase in crop destruction. However, has prompted hemp growers in the Bekaa, the major cannabis-producing region, to further develop their cannabis production. The total area currently under cannabis cultivation estimated to yield $600 million annually from hemp. Up from more than $2 billion today.
The president of the Lebanese National Health Authority, Ismail Sukkarieh, questions the financial returns of cannabis legislation. Warning both against its implementation in the absence of state laws and the risk of introducing it under political and sectarian quotas.
Hezbollah, often accused of financing itself in particular through the cultivation of cannabis. Has opposed this legalization because “the draft law does not stipulate its economic feasibility”.
The bill provides for the creation of an “Organizing Authority for the Cultivation of Cannabis for Medical and Scientific Purposes”. Under the supervision of the Council of Ministers. This body would be responsible for granting licenses to import seeds and seedlings, establish crops, plant, and harvest in a controlled area. In addition to manufacturing, selling, distributing and establishing research centers and laboratories. According to specific criteria and conditions based on medical and industrial use.