Lebanese cannabis farmers hope legalisation may bring amnesty

For now, there is little likelihood of a rapid move towards legalisation
Reuters (UK)
Monday, August 27, 2018

The contrast between the vibrant green of a cannabis field and the arid land nearby in Lebanon's Bekaa valley has for years raised a dilemma for the area's impoverished farmers. Cannabis is hardier, less thirsty and cheaper to grow than the region's other main crops like apples and potatoes, but it is also illegal - for now. Parliament will consider legalising its growth for medicinal use, but in the Bekaa, some people are unconvinced there will be a meaningful change. "It is like giving a dog a bone because people are hungry and can't bear it any more," said a cannabis farmer. "But whether they legalize it or not, the most important thing is to give an amnesty," he said. Farmers face prison terms of five years. (See also: How good is Lebanese cannabis? Scientists seek herbal remedies)