Lebanese farmers demand cannabis ration to deal with drought and poverty



The striking contrast between the vivid green color in a field of cannabis and the arid areas nearby in the Lebanese Bekaa valley has been a dilemma for years.


Areas planted with cannabis plants in a field in the city of Yamouna in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley on August 13, 2018.

For farmers Poor people in the region.
The cannabis plant is firmer, less water-intensive and cheaper than other important crops such as apples and potatoes, but its cultivation has been illegal up to now.
The speaker said last month that the parliament would consider legitimizing the cultivation for medical use, but some people in the Bekaa were not convinced that a real change would take place.
Abu Mohammed, a 52-year-old cannabis farmer in the town of Yamouna in the Bekaa Valley, said: "I sincerely believe that he is a cousin, he gives him a cheek, he is a dog, they give him a bite He's a cheek, the uncle will be. "
Talal Sharif, the mayor of Al Yamouna in the northern Bekaa, says that about 35,000 people are being chased by the police in the cannabis planting area.
He adds: "A nation-nation says, and God we have to start Hishisha, okay, we're with the law, why? … In the region, 30 to 35 thousand people are wanted to plant cannabis, the hour that you start with what is sold in the number of Hada of the wanted people. "
What makes some people in the Bekaa angry is the feeling that they have no choice but to grow an illegal crop.
Abu Abdou Mazloum, 40, a resident of the nearby city of Brittal who spent years in prison for a cannabis offense, said that high unemployment has driven farmers to plant a few square kilometers of hashish.
"Houl Begibwa is a bit of Masari for people, but a man is a solution because he is a haram of two poor people," explains Abu Abdo, a grassroots activist.

Regulation of cannabis cultivation
The mayor, Talal Sharif, has suggested the possibility of regulating cannabis cultivation in the same way as tobacco growing, so that the government can buy the crop at a fixed price.
He says there are about 1500 square kilometers of land for cannabis cultivation, owned by about 150 people who employ hundreds of temporary Syrian workers.
At the moment there is little chance to quickly legitimize cannabis cultivation. Almost four months after the general elections, the Lebanese political parties still differ about the formation of a new coalition government.
But in the nearby town of Bar Elias, farmers say they are having problems. One farmer, Khalid Areeji, said that his last harvest of vegetables had suffered catastrophe because of the drought. The river he has told is dry. He said that even birds do not find water to drink.
He said he would plant cannabis if the government allowed it.
He added: "The farmer does not have enough money, but he works in the summer, so he can secure the winter mornings so that he can live in the winter and pay school fees for his children."


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