Turning weed to wine, helping Bekaa farmers go straight

Hashish is widespread in the valley with many relying on it for their livelihood
The Daily Star (Lebanon)
Saturday, November 19, 2016

lebanon cannabis grapesHashish cultivation is widespread in the Bekaa Valley with many relying on the illegal crop for their livelihoods. In an attempt to curb the illicit trade, the Lebanese authorities periodically raid the area to destroy the crops and arrest its producers. Many think the hashish business is easy and profitable, but this is untrue. In the dry land of the Bekaa Valley, hashish plantations are an alluring option for many in the poor, often lawless region. While police raids have not been frequent since the onset of the war in Syria, the price drop that followed the closure of the border means the business is still difficult. While authorities have repeatedly pledged to help farmers find an alternative source of income to hashish, to this day the Coteaux d’Heliopolis Cooperative remains the only one providing a credible solution.