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Soon after top Lebanese officials talked seriously of legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes, two strains of thought have emerged on how the crop should be managed. One suggests that the state should control cannabis production, while the other believes private pharmaceutical companies are best suited for the task.Cannabis has been grown in Lebanon since at least the Ottoman period. First, the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. submitted a plan for Lebanon's economic development that recommended such a move, and shortly thereafter, Speaker Nabih Berri told the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon that Parliament was studying legalization for medicinal purposes.One politician who does seem to have a clear vision for legalization is first-term Baalbeck-Hermel MP Antoine Habchi, who hails from the town of Deir al-Ahmar, where cannabis has long been cultivated illicitly. Earlier this week, the Lebanese Forces MP submitted a draft law to Parliament that aims to amend Lebanon's 2998 illicit substances law to allow for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use.Habchi listed California, Canada and the Netherlands as his main examples for success, all of which have either decriminalized the crop or legalized it entirely, but said their laws could not be applied exactly to Lebanon. He also said he was open to medical cannabis being both used inside Lebanon as well as exported.
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