Lebanon Legalizes Medical Marijuana Cultivation

The Lebanese parliament has just legalized the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes.

Yesterday, in a groundbreaking move, the Lebanese parliament passed legislation to legalize and regulate cannabis cultivation for medical and industrial purposes.

The passed law would allow for the cultivation of cannabis by farmers, in the hopes that Lebanon can create a viable legal industry producing medicinal cannabis products and even wellness products that contain CBD.

Lebanon has been a country in economic turmoil for decades, having amassed a national debt of more than $80 billion, and defaulting on its most recent debt repayment for the first time last month. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic afoot, it's looking like the situation will only worsen in the country.

This is why Lebanon has made the move to push for cannabis cultivation, in the hopes that the legislative move will help to ameliorate some of the country's economic issues.

The country has been weighing the benefits versus the costs of cannabis legalization for close to two years, when Lebanese legislators hired the New York-based global consulting company McKinsey & Co. in order to seek out solutions to the country's ongoing economic shortcomings. In response, the consulting company mentioned that cannabis legalization may provide some economic stimulus, as had been seen in parts of the U.S. at the time.

Though on the recreational front, Lebanon remains staunchly opposed:

"[There will be] no change to any laws on the recreational production or use of the substance, which remains illegal," Timour Azhari, an Al Jazeera correspondent, tweeted, in regards to Lebanon's new cannabis legislation.

Lebanon's move reflects something we've been saying for a little while now here at The Green Fund, which is that the COVID-19 pandemic presents the perfect opportunity for cannabis legalization, as countries look for ways to revitalize their economies in preparation for a post-coronavirus world.

In many cases, such as in New York and more recently in Connecticut, cannabis legalization has been placed on the back burner, in order for politicians to focus more solely upon handling the COVID-19 crisis. Though undoubtedly, with cannabis' designation as an "essential" industry in both the United States and Canada, and the ongoing rise in cannabis sales that are occurring, it's going to become increasingly hard for governments to ignore the cannabis industry.

With countries like Lebanon taking the leap and legalizing the cultivation of medicinal cannabis, it provides yet another case study for curious onlookers to be witnesses to the benefits that cannabis can provide to an economy.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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