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Lebanon approves medical cannabis to try to get out of crisis



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In an attempt to recover from the crisis it plunged into with the Coronavirus, Lebanon has approved the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes, announced the Reuters. The new legislation took effect this week as the Lebanese pound has lost 50 percent against the dollar since January, the biggest drop in its history.

Legal cannabis production could generate around $100 billion a year in economic revenue, according to previous studies by consultancy McKinsey. The plant has been grown illegally for over XNUMX years in the Bekaa Valley, in the east of the country, near the Syrian border, but Lebanon now wants to attract foreign investment to produce it legally and revitalize its economy.

According to the United Nations, Lebanon is one of the top five cannabis producers in the world. The plant usually goes to Syria, which has been embroiled in civil war for almost ten years, Jordan and other countries in the region. medicinal and industrial, not recreational use.

The parliament's decision was "really motivated by economic reasons, nothing more," Alain Aoun, a member of the Free Patriotic Movement founded by President Michel Aoun, told Reuters. “We have moral and social reservations, but today there is a need to help the economy in any way possible,” he said. The only party that voted against approval was Hezbollah.

Many Middle Eastern countries were taken aback by the news. In general, the consumption of alcoholic beverages and illicit substances is considered a serious transgression of religious precepts. “The most incredible thing is that the measure passed in the Lebanese Parliament, which has several members of Hezbollah, a very conservative Shia group,” says photographer Kareem Azhour, 35. In May 2019, the group banned the Gay Pride parade in Beirut.
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[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]


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