(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — MP Walid Jumblatt renewed calls for legalizing the cultivation of cannabis in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley, saying its economic impact could be substantial for the region.
In a statement published Wednesday in As-Safir Newspaper, Jumblatt applauded the crackdown on inmates in Roumieh Prison as a bold security move, but called it the first step to improving security strifes in the country.
“The treatment cannot be a security one only, but it should be backed by development, and thus I still believe that the cultivation of hashish should be legalized because the theory of alternative crops has failed,” Jumblatt said.
Jumblatt believes the “page has turned” in the Roumieh issue, and efforts should now focus on security and economic stability in the Bekaa. He says regulating security and cannabis growers should go hand-in-hand.
“Never in my life have I smoked marijuana, but I support growing cannabis for medical use and to improve the living conditions of farmers in north Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley,” Jumblatt previously told Al-Jadeed television.
“Let’s legalize cannabis and regulate its cultivation.”
Lebanon remains one of the top five global producers of hashish, accounting for around 5-6% of total world supply since 2002.
Global demand for cannabis and hashish is ever-increasing, and the incentive for impoverished Lebanese farmers to return to their traditional livelihood is great.
A hectare of cannabis may produce anything from 40-100 kg of hashish, worth between $20,000 and $40,000 USD.
WATCH: Inside a Lebanese marijuana factory: