BEKAA, Lebanon (Reuters) – The contrast between the vibrant green of a cannabis field and the arid land nearby in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley has for years raised a dilemma for the area’s impoverished farmers.
Cannabis is hardier, less thirsty and cheaper to grow than the region’s other main crops like apples and potatoes, but it is also illegal – for now.
Parliament will consider legalizing its growth for medicinal use, the speaker said last month, but in the Bekaa, some people are unconvinced there will be a meaningful change.
“It is like giving a dog a bone because people are hungry and can’t bear it any more,” said cannabis farmer Abu Mohammad, 52.
“But whether they legalize it or not, the most important thing is to give an amnesty,” he said, echoing a common complaint in the region. Farmers faced prison terms of five years, he said.