On February 26, the Lebanese Parliament's joint committee approved the legalisation of the growth of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes. It's now in the hands of the National Lebanese Assembly to approve it.
 
This comes almost two years after a draft bill proposing its legalisation was first proposed in July 2018. The joint committee's approval of the bill marks the first step in the legalisation process.
 
According to the 961, though, the cultivation of cannabis will be a highly regulated and surveilled practice; after pharmaceutical companies provide farmers with seeds, they will inspect the harvesting process to ensure that none of the crops are diverted.
 
The entire trade would be supervised by the Department of Narcotics at the Ministry of Health, which would licence private companies and inspect farmers’ fields every year before the beginning of each season. 
 
Cannabis in Lebanon is already grown - illegally - in the Bekaa Valley. Lebanon's Hashish production also supplies many other markets in the region, according to the 2016 UNODC report.
 
While supporters of Lebanon's cannabis' legalisaiton have argued for the economic benefits it would reap for the country, which is facing its worst financial crisis in decades, some of the Bekaa farmers have spoken out about the potential legalisation, out of concern that their profits will sink.
 
Main image courtesy of Reuters.