Speaker Nabih Berri Wednesday told U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard that Parliament is preparing to study and approve legislation to legalize the cultivation of cannabis for medical use, the state-run National News Agency reported.
In a meeting with Richard, Berri said the move would be taken in a manner similar to “many European countries and some U.S. states.”
Talk of legalizing Lebanon’s centuries-old hashish crop has been not uncommon for many years, however the issue has gained momentum as Lebanon’s economy struggles and officials look for solutions. Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Joumblatt has long been a proponent of complete legalization of the drug, while others, including Berri, having in recent months called for its legalization for export and medical use.
In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month, caretaker Economy Minister Raed Khoury said Lebanon could legalize the cultivation and export of hashish for medical treatment, adding it could create a $1 billion industry.
“The quality we have is one of the best in the world,” Bloomberg quoted him as saying. This came after global consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. recommended the legalization of cannabis cultivation for medical use in a government-commissioned long-term economic plan it recently presented to officials.
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