Lebanon

Thu
23
Aug

How good is Lebanese cannabis? Scientists seek herbal remedies

Locked away safely in an academic's study in Lebanon is a plant that researchers hope to transform from one of the country's most notorious exports into a lucrative pharmaceutical.

Cannabis is cultivated openly, but illegally, in parts of Lebanon, especially the Bekaa Valley where a Roman temple in the ancient city of Baalbek bears an engraving of a cannabis leaf. Today, Lebanon is third after only Morocco and Afghanistan as global supplier of cannabis resin, U.N. figures show. While Lebanese cannabis might be prized by smokers of the narcotic, little is known of its medicinal value, something that Professor Mohammad Mroueh, who believes the plant's local strain might prove particularly beneficial, hopes to change.

Thu
09
Aug

Climate change is turning the Middle East's breadbasket into a cannabis farm

The farmer plucks a cannabis flower from a long stalk. He presses it against his nose, inhales deeply and begins to extol the therapeutic -- if not necessarily scientific -- properties of his crop.

"Smell this. It smells like heaven," says Abu Salim, who doesn't want his real name used for security reasons. "This is the herb of happiness. My friend says that when he smokes a joint, his wife becomes a princess, the world shines, and life is beautiful!"

This is part of the heartland of Lebanese farming, once considered the breadbasket of the Middle East. It is also home to some of the region's most conservative and controversial political groups.

Fri
20
Jul

Lebanon will legalize growing marijuana after McKinsey evaluated it as a boost for the country's troubled economy

Lebanon wants a piece of the red-hot global cannabis market.

The Middle Eastern nation is preparing to legalize cannabis cultivation for medical use in an effort to boost its troubled economy, Lebanon's House Speaker told US ambassador Elizabeth Richard on Tuesday, according to the country's official news agency.

Wed
18
Jul

Budding business: how cannabis could transform Lebanon

Budding business: how cannabis could transform Lebanon.

The town of Brital, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, is a jarring contrast of poverty and ostentatious wealth. Busted-up old vans drive on potholed roads next to gleaming Bentleys and Range Rovers with no number plates and blacked-out windows. Unemployment is rife, and yet the landscape is dotted by large gated mansions.

Mon
04
Jun

Researchers in Lebanon hope to study medical benefits of cannabis

Lebanon is one of the world’s top illegal weed producers. Now, one of its major universities will be studying medical marijuana.

The Lebanese American University will be the first university in Lebanon to study medical marijuana. This week, the university president announced the foundation of the Medicinal Cannabis Research Center. Joseph G. Jabbra put forth big plans for medical marijuana research and de-stigmatization, suggesting it could bolster the national economy. Here’s a look at the university’s plans, and why Lebanese marijuana may be some of the best in the world.

The Unique Benefits of Lebanese Hash

Mon
30
Oct

Lebanon's illicit cannabis trade goes up in smoke amid Syria war

Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley is notorious for its highly lucrative cannabis industry.

However, in recent years the illicit trade has suffered due to the war in neighbouring Syria. As a result, some are now turning to another crop for better income.

Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab reports from Bekaa Valley.

Mon
16
Oct

Turning weed into wine in Lebanon

A cannabis field near a vineyard on the outskirts of Deir al-Ahmar in the Beakaa Valley, one of the poorest regions in Lebanon.

Sitting among the vines of Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo growing on his spectacular farm in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Michel Emad remembers the not-so-distant time when he opted to cultivate cannabis.

The retired soldier was not alone in this illicit trade: cannabis fields used to stretch as far as the eye could see in this part of Lebanon over which the state has tenuous control.

"Everyone used to grow hashish, that was what the market wanted, there was no alternative crop," Emad, a father of two in his fifties with neatly trimmed hair, said.

Fri
21
Apr

Some Arab governments are rethinking harsh cannabis laws

“WHEN we think about our future, our dreams, we have nothing,” says a young man in Sidi Bouzid. Life in the Tunisian town that launched the Arab spring has barely changed since the country’s old dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, was ousted in 2011. Unemployment is even higher nationally than before the uprising. Young people are worst-off, which helps explain why an alarming number join jihadist groups. The frustration drives others, including this young man, to use zatla, the local name for cannabis.

Tue
29
Dec

3 tons of Egypt-bound drugs discovered at Beirut port

Customs officials Tuesday discovered three tons of Captagon pills and hash at the Beirut port destined for Egypt, Lebanon's finance minister said.

Mon
28
Dec

Syrian refugees risk Daesh wrath as they farm cannabis in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley

In Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Syrian refugees wearing scarves over their faces work in fields of cannabis plants. Migrant workers from neighbouring Syria have done this work for many years, spending a few months a year in the region before returning home. However, since the rise of Islamic State, this has become a task that could put them, and their family back in Syria, at risk of harm including death because working with, getting close to or consuming drugs and alcohol is considered a sin in Islam. "If Islamic State back home knew we work with hashish, they would cut us" with knives, says Aisha, 15.

A woman and a 13-year-old boy sift through the twigs and buds of the recent harvest inside a garage filled with green dust and piles of cannabis.

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