July 23, 2018Lebanon
Middle Eastern countries have always been known for their regressive national policies. For cannabis particularly, one would stumble upon the same restrictive mindset. Countries located at the southern and eastern margins of the Mediterranean Sea are mainly comprised of religious societies where the use of cannabis is highly disregarded.
In addition, academics and physicians of the region don’t talk about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in general. But like everywhere else, things regarding cannabis are also changing in the Middle East for good. For instance, Lebanon is considering legalizing the use and cultivation of medical cannabis. Aside from potential medical benefits, the country is also weighing in the advantageous economic implications of MMJ legalization. Experts think that the legalization of medical cannabis will provide a needed uplift to the country’s suffering economy affected by regional conflicts all around.
According to the reports pouring in from international media outlets, Lebanon is considering marijuana legalization chiefly because of its economic benefits. The legalization of medical cannabis became a national highlight when a report from the international management company, McKinsey & Co became public.
The company furnished a report comprising suggestions to address the economic woes of the country. One of the section in the report talks about the possibility of entering global MMJ industry by setting up cultivation and production facilities in the country.
This particular suggestion has got traction from the key public figures and decision makers in the country. Lebanon’s House Speaker Nabih Berri has publically shown his support for marijuana legalization. He has even hinted that the legislature has already started working on the possible MMJ legalization. However, he hasn’t disclosed any pertinent details neither has he given any timeline for the proposed legalization. It is also worth mentioning that a Lebanon’s leading university has a plan to launch a cannabis research center.
Legalization of medical marijuana can bring about an economic turnaround in Lebanon. The country is already producing tons of illegal cannabis. According to the reports from the United Nations, Lebanon is one of the five biggest producers of hashish (a cannabis concentrate) in the world. Besides, the country is known to produce the finest quality strain among stoner communities worldwide.
However, all of this is part of an illegal market. By legalizing cannabis, Lebanon can legitimize the most part of this already established cannabis market. This also implies that the country doesn’t have to make hefty investments to build cannabis economy from the scratch.
As per the World Drug Report by UNODC, the alleged cannabis economic output of the country is around $4 billion. Experts are of the thought that it would be relatively easy for the country to foray into the international MMJ market because of the already working cultivation and production networks and its reputation for producing high-quality strain.
While a growing number of authorities are in favor of legalization, it is still unclear whether the similar widespread support exists among the public. The uncertain political environment in the country can also delay the materialization of MMJ legalization.
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