Lebanon betting on cannabis for economic recovery

On a mild September morning, about two dozen girls and women, swathed in brightly colored shawls that revealed only their eyes, picked through a verdant field. With sickles that glinted in the waning summer sun, they reaped spiky-leaved stalks stretching to the foot of the nearby hills.

The crop was cannabis. And it’s a lifeline, advocates say, that Lebanon urgently needs.

The country is scrabbling to escape an existential, multilayered crisis that has gutted the currency to less than a quarter of its previous value, brought the specter of shortages to a place renowned for its excess, and spurred a full-scale rejection of the country’s ruling order.

Most of all, Lebanon is broke. It produces very little, relying on imports for almost everything, and dollars are scarce.

In April, with the country slammed by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lame-duck government still found time to legalize cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes, making Lebanon the first Arab nation to do so.

Read more at latimes.com


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