YAMOUNEH, LEBANON — In this farming village of hash in lebanon | tale of two strains, cannabis grows in weedy fields that border houses and line roads where the army operates checkpoints. It’s a reminder of the industry’s role in this country that has long been a regional center for marijuana cultivation and the manufacture of hashish, the concentrated form of cannabis resin.
Hash, which can be smoked, vaped or brewed into edibles, is an important cash crop for growers in the Bekaa Valley. It can also be sold to other countries. Despite being illegal in Lebanon, the substance accounts for about 80 percent of the country’s exports, according to the United Nations.
Exploring the Rich Heritage: A Tale of Two Strains of Weed Hash in Lebanon
But the region is in the throes of a severe economic crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, and the price of fuel and other imported farming inputs has skyrocketed. That has forced many farmers to abandon their traditional crops and switch to producing Captagon, a stimulant that is easier to produce and conceal and can fetch higher prices abroad.
The government is trying to ease the pressure on Lebanon’s clogged courts and prison system by reducing sentences for possession of small quantities of cannabis, including hash, and cracking down on organised crime linked to cultivation and sales. But a draft law currently circulating in parliament would further curb growth by making it more difficult to grow and process cannabis, as well as imposing stiff penalties for possession of any narcotics.