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News Link • Drug War

Lebanon's pot farmers gear up for a fight with Islamic State

• http://www.washingtonpost.com

The  industry boomed during the country's lengthy civil war, earning millions for the impoverished yet fertile Bekaa Valley province, and Lebanese authorities have struggled to control it ever since. In 2012, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime listed Lebanon as one of the five "main countries producing cannabis resin," yielding an amount similar to Pakistan's production.

Political instability in Lebanon has often led to boom times for pot farmers. "The worse the security situation is in Lebanon, the more we can grow," one farmer told the Christian Science Monitor in 2007. As such, the chaos in neighboring Syria appears to have been a boon for the farmers, with troops diverted to the border and annual cannabis-eradication drives skipped.

However, the continued rise of the Islamic State militant group has some of Lebanon's cannabis farmers concerned. Yaara Bou Melhem of Australia's Special Broadcasting Service Corp.

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