A Plan to Jump Start Lebanon's Economy: Export Cannabis to the World

'The quality we have is one of the best in the world,' said Lebanon's trade minister, adding cannabis could become a one-billion-dollar industry

Haaretz
Reuters
קנאביס רפואי
קנאביס רפואי
Haaretz
Reuters

Global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. presented a document detailing its proposal to jump start Lebanon's economy to President Michel Aoun this week. Blooberg reported over the weekend the publication got hold of the abridged version of the document, while the full version must be ratified by the new cabinet, which Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is still attempting to form following May’s elections.

"Tackling some of Lebanon’s biggest problems, including corruption, will be key to rebuilding the economy," Caretaker Economy and Trade Minister Raed Khoury said. The report highlighted some "quick wins" Lebanon can implement to get back on track - including legalizing cannibas production for exporting globally.

Khoury added Lebanon could legalize cultivation and export the drug for medicinal treatments: “The quality we have is one of the best in the world,” he said, adding cannabis could become a one-billion-dollar industry.

In the report, Bloomberg notes, "cannabis is cultivated clandestinely in the eastern Bekaa Valley, which is dominated by Hezbollah." Hezbollah has come under internationally scrutiny in recent years for its role in both international drug and arms trade - which helps to finance its militia and terrorist operations internationally.

Economic crisis

Lebanon requires "an immediate and substantial" fiscal adjustment to improve the sustainability of public debt that stood at more than 150 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of 2017, the IMF executive board said in late June.

An IMF statement released June 22 said IMF executive directors agreed with the thrust of a staff appraisal which in February urged Lebanon to immediately anchor its fiscal policy in a consolidation plan that stabilises debt as a share of GDP and then puts it on a clear downward path.

Lebanon's debt to GDP ratio is the third largest in the world.

"Directors stressed that an immediate and substantial fiscal adjustment is essential to improve debt sustainability, which will require strong and sustained political commitment," the IMF executive board statement said.

It reiterated estimates of low economic growth of 1-1.5 percent in 2017 and 2018. "The traditional drivers of growth in Lebanon are subdued with real estate and construction weak and a strong rebound is unlikely soon," it said.

"Going forward, under current policies growth is projected to gradually increase towards 3 percent over the medium term."

Lebanon's economy has been hit by the war in neighbouring Syria. Annual growth rates have fallen to between 1 and 2 percent, from between 8 and 10 percent in the four years before the Syrian war. Two former pillars of the economy, Gulf Arab tourism and high-end real estate, have suffered.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Dr. Claris Harbon in the neighborhood where she grew up in Ashdod.

A Women's Rights Lawyer Felt She Didn't Belong in Israel. So She Moved to Morocco

Mohammed 'Moha' Alshawamreh.

'It Was Real Shock to Move From a Little Muslim Village, to a Big Open World'

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Prime Minister

Lake Kinneret. The high water level created lagoons at the northern end of the lake.

Lake Kinneret as You’ve Never Experienced It Before