For the cannabis-growing residents of eastern Lebanon, recent internecine fighting in the country has been a blessing - one covered in hash resin and dollar signs.Well, I suppose one should look on the bright side - maybe Hezbollah will be too stoned to get up to much once the first crop is harvested - well, one can always hope.
To these villagers, gunshots and warfare are good for business, and the last three years have been far too quiet for their taste, leaving the authorities more than enough time and resources to come for their crops.
Peace and quiet frees the Lebanese Army to help local law enforcement combat the drug trade, especially in the summer, when soldiers and police are deployed to cannabis fields to rip and cut the flowering stalks of marijuana set for processing and export to Israel, Europe and beyond.
The last time the cannabis farmers of Lebanon had such a bumper crop was during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when the security situation in the country brought anti-drug law enforcement to a halt. With fighting flaring up again in Lebanon, the farmers can expect another marijuana windfall, especially if the army is deployed in force throughout the country's cities to quell the recent bloodshed.
Newspaper reports have stated that even in peacetime security forces are often wary of entering the cannabis growing areas, as many of the farmers and their security guards are heavily armed.
An investigation by the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat has found that over 25,000 acres of cannabis were planted in Lebanon this year, an amount that should yield an impressive amount of hashish for the area's farmers.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
While war and civil unrest usually hurts a country's economy there is apparently a segment of Lebanese society which profits greatly from the civil disray according to this Ha'aretz article: