Lebanon's parliament is preparing to legalize cannabis cultivation and production for medicinal use; Speaker Nabih Berri told US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard on Tuesday.
“The quality we have is one of the best in the world,” Trade Minister Raed Khoury told Bloomberg. Indeed, Lebanon's cannabis resists drought and high temperatures.
In fact, this decision came after the consulting firm McKinsey & Company sent the Lebanese government a 1,000-page report in which it recommended cannabis legalization to revamp Lebanon's economy.
Lebanon signed a deal with this consulting firm to restructure the economy which is dependent on banking and remittances from Lebanese expats. McKinsey's new plan aims to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio. "The government wants to boost real GDP growth to 6 percent."
The current model of the Lebanese economy survived political crises such as the two-year presidential vacuum, the resignation of the Prime Minister, and the influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees. However, this model is no longer sustainable.
Cannabis is being illegally cultivated in the Bekaa Valley. "Hashish production in the country supplies other markets in the region," according to a source.
Scientists around the world are exploring the benefits of this plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD,) two compounds found in cannabis, have been approved for the treatment of pain.
They also improve the appetite stimulation in AIDS patients and reduce nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy.
On May 30, the Lebanese American University (LAU) introduced its initiative to establish the Medicinal Cannabis Research Center, the first of its kind in Lebanon and the Middle East. Researchers want to find the medical and therapeutic value of Lebanon-grown cannabis.
In fact, licensed research centers are allowed to grow prohibited plants in Lebanon. This is a thriving field of research in the pharmaceutical and public-health communities around the world.