In Yammouneh, the plant is often grown in relatively small patches near people’s homes. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Politicians have said legalizing the cultivation of cannabis in Lebanon would benefit those who currently farm it illicitly, while diverting money away from powerful drug lords, weakening them and possibly putting them out of work. But for some in the Bekaa town of Yammouneh, where the plant is grown in relatively small patches near people's homes, moves toward legalizing cultivation solely for medicinal purposes raise concerns that they may fall through the cracks of a new legal cannabis system. I'm scared they'll screw up hashish just like they've screwed up everything else," one small-time farmer and dealer, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Daily Star.Seated in front of his two-story house on a narrow street lined with dark green cannabis plants, the elderly man explained that many in the area do not fall into the simple farmer-dealer dichotomy politicians have alluded to. Less than a month after Berri told U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Richard that Lebanon was preparing to study the legalization of cannabis cultivation for medicinal use, laws to that effect are nowhere close to being ratified by Parliament.These include a 1-square-kilometer minimum cultivating area for farmers who want to enter the legal trade.
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