BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s parliament is considering legalizing the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said on Wednesday, in an attempt to boost the struggling economy.
“The Lebanese Parliament is preparing to study and adopt the legislation necessary to legislate the cultivation of cannabis and its manufacture for medical uses in the manner of many European countries and some U.S. states,” Berri’s office said, reporting comments made in a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Beirut.
Although growing the plant is illegal in Lebanon, powerful landowners nevertheless have for decades openly grown fields of cannabis in the fertile Bekaa Valley, untouched by law enforcement and its attempts to crack down.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranked Lebanon in a 2018 report as the world’s third main source of cannabis resin seized by national authorities after Morocco and Afghanistan.
Lebanon has been suffering weak growth since 2011, hit by regional turmoil. The IMF has estimated growth rates of 1-1.5 percent in 2017 and 2018, saying traditional drivers of the economy – construction and real estate – remain subdued….