Lebanon: dissent grows to cannabis eradication

Posted on August 1st, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Middle EastThere is growing support in Lebanon's cannabis-producing eastern region (the Bekaa Valley, for centuries a major hashish production zone) for a proposal from Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt for the government to legalize and purchase the crop from the area's struggling farmers, establishing a program of controlled distribution for medicinal purposes. Advocates of the proposal say the yearly eradication of the cannabis crop by the Central Drug Control Office has led to corruption, and is breeding resentment.

Moufleh Allaw, a local official in the town of Hermel, warned that farmers and influential families in the area will not allow their crops to be eradicated, noting recent attacks on police and firms that rent bulldozers to the eradication teams. But the government insists that the eradication program will continue, boasting that some 6,000 dunums of cannabis have been eradicated over the past month, out of a total of 30,000 dunums of plantations in the area. Security sources said it would take a month and a half destroy all the fields.

Lebanon's Daily Star visited Zoueiteniye village—nearly reduced to a "ghost town" as most of the some 500 residents have migrated to Beirut since the government launched its eradication program in the '90s.  One of the remaining residents, who asked to be identified by his initials MF, has five dunums (5,000 square meters) of cannabis fields. He said cannabis cultivation provides his only source of income for his family, while admitting that growing it violates tenets of his Muslim faith. But he said that cannabis earns $5,000 per month for his family, while legal crops bring in only $1,000. He said the latter option would mean in his children would have to drop out of school. (Daily Star, Aug. 2)



Lebanese cannabis farmers fire on police

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Two police and two soldiers were wounded Aug. 3 in separate shootings over the crackdown on cannabis fields in east Lebanon, security sources said. An Army major and lieutenant were wounded when a joint force came under fire by farmers in the Yammouneh area of Baalbek, a security source told the Daily Star. The force was destroying cannabis fields.


Comment by Global Ganja Report on Aug 3rd, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Lebanese cannabis farmers block roads

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On Aug. 4, Yammouneh farmers and their families blocked roads into their area in a move to prevent security forces from burning their cannabis fields. Villagers set up tents along the highways, staged sit-ins to block traffic, and some erected barricades with rocks and burning tires. The head of  Yammouneh municipality, Mohammed Sherif, participated in the sit-in along with a number of local village mayors. The protests were called off the next day when the government agreed to enter into a dialogue with the farmers and consider compensating them for their destroyed cannabis crop. (Al-Monitor, Aug. 6; Daily News, Egypt, Daily Star, Lebanon, Aug. 5)

Comment by Global Ganja Report on Sep 3rd, 2012 at 12:45 am

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