The production of marijuana will be legalized in Lebanon after McKinsey evaluated it as a boost for the country’s troubled economy
The Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon is planning to legalize the consumption of cannabis for medicinal purposes in an attempt to revive its declining economy. According to Lebanon’s official news agency, the House Speaker told US ambassador Elizabeth Richard about the country’s plan to legalize cannabis.
Lebanon’s decision to legalize cannabis comes after the consulting firm McKinsey & Company sent a report to Lebanon’s government that analyzed various economic initiatives such as the legalization of cannabis. In January 2018, the firm was contracted by Lebanon to suggest a plan to boost the economy of the country.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Lebanon has been affected by high rates of unemployment and slow growth since 2011, when the civil war started in neighboring Syria.
According to a 2016 research carried out by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Lebanon is popular for being the world’s third-largest producer of illegal red hashish — the psychoactive resin extracted from the cannabis plant —In the report sent to the Lebanese government, McKinsey analyzed the economic impact of moving the illegal cannabis market of Lebanon to a legal market for medicinal purposes.
According to a report from Business Insider, the Lebanese government told McKinsey to analyze the effect of legalizing cannabis as part of a suite of more than 150 initiatives to revive the Lebanese economy. The analysis from McKinsey lacked the explicit recommendation of legalizing medical cannabis, although it listed the positive economic benefits.
Lebanon’s Minister of Trade, Raed Khoury, said that Lebanon has the best quality of cannabis in the world, and suggested that the medical cannabis industry could become a billion-dollar industry.
The Bekaa Valley in Eastern Lebanon has been the main location for the production of illegal cannabis and this area is seen as a “no-go” zone due to the rich communities that monitor the cultivation in the region. However, the restrictions in this region will soon change if the Lebanese parliament can force a bill to legalize cannabis and open the country’s cannabis fields to worldwide export markets.
Canada is currently the 2nd country in the world to legalize marijuana for adult-use. This has prompted other nations to legalize the plant due to economic benefits.
According to several investment banks, the cannabis market is set to become valuable and this has encouraged some countries to reconsider prohibition.
Thailand is currently contemplating on a bill to legalize medical cannabis in the country, which will make it the first Asian country to legalize cannabis.
The tropical climate of Thailand favors the growth of marijuana and the country plans on competing with Canada for access to substantial export markets.
According to Nopporn Cheanklin, the director of Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO), a state-backed enterprise, Thailand has the best cannabis strains in the world.
In April, Zimbabwe also legalized the use of medicinal cannabis, which allows both private and corporations to seek marijuana growing licenses. Other countries which have legalized medical cannabis include Lesotho and most recently South Africa.