Lebanon's crisis-hit farmers turn to growing hashish

Hashish production was once limited to a few villages in the Baalbek, including Yammouneh, but its deputy mayor Hussein Shreif said it is now gaining traction across the whole region
Agence France Presse (AFP)
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

For three decades Abu Ali planted potatoes to provide for his family, but Lebanon's economic crisis has driven up production costs and forced him to swap the crop for cannabis. "It's not for the love of hashish," the 57-year-old told AFP in the eastern Baalbek region, the heart of Lebanon's illicit cannabis industry. "It's just less expensive than other crops... and allows you to live with dignity." Lebanon is in the throes of a spiralling economic crisis compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. As the value of the local currency plunges on the black market, the cost of imported fuel, seeds, fertilisers and pesticides priced in dollars has skyrocketed. More and more small farmers, who were already in dire straits before the crisis, are deciding to grow cannabis instead.