The Lebanese parliament on Tuesday passed legislation to legalize cannabis cultivation for medical and industrial purposes, a move that was recommended by economic advisers even before the coronavirus pandemic dealt a devastating blow to the Mediterranean nation’s struggling economy.
Under the new law, the cultivation of cannabis by farmers would be regulated within the country, according to The Daily Star, a Lebanese English-language newspaper. Although the plant has long been widely and openly cultivated in Lebanon, particularly in the country’s eastern Bekaa Valley, growing cannabis was strictly illegal.
The new law would not legalize marijuana for recreational use. Instead, it would allow for the plant to be grown for export for medicinal and industrial purposes. Under the new legislation, Lebanon would also aim to foster a new legal industry producing cannabis pharmaceutical items, including wellness products and CBD oil. Industrial products, such as fibers for textiles, could also be produced from the plant.
Kareem Chehayeb, an independent Lebanese journalist and researcher, noted on Twitter that Lebanese political party Hezbollah opposed the new law. “Though their key allies supported the draft law, #Hezbollah were not the only party to oppose this,” Chehayeb tweeted. [Read more at Newsweek]