Lebanon: De-Stigmatizing Marijuana
Lebanon began with a pretty negative outlook on Medical Marijuana, to say the least. But we have learned recently that there is, in fact, hope for our wondrous plant in this region. Part of me is a bit refreshed when a person or persons turn on the light over cannabis, while they have previously lacked knowledge and access to the resources needed to truly be in the know. This means they weren't just closing their minds to it - like so many do - and choosing not to use what is right in front of them.
Joseph G. Jabbra, the president of Lebanese American University, took a very giant, and somewhat controversial step forward onto his path toward marijuana research. After all, Lebanon is recognized as the world's best hash producer. In fact, it's industry of marijuana is worth $4 billion - the 5th largest cannabis market place. Super impressive, we know. Jabbra claims that the region is very ideal for growing the crop. The cannabis derived from Lebanon is resistant to severe heat and drought. More THC is actually produced when the plant is exposed to a more stressful environment.
But wait, there's more! The surface has barely been scratched on Lebanon's unique marijuana - much less, the way it could benefit the nation and the world as a whole. There's more to be studied about the biochemical effects of its hot, dry climate on the herb.
Jabbra announced on May 30th, that it is inherent to the University's history as the first women's college in the nation, that they make this mark. Though still very much illegal, the government has grounds to grant permits to study unlawful plants and substances. Jabbra's prerogative is not just to study it.
Why make hypotheses and conquer the results if it isn't going to be put into action? He wants these efforts to lead to manufacturing marijuana plant pharmaceuticals right there in Lebanon.
Lebanon MUST change it's stance on marijuana for any of this to be put in motion. "We are awaiting the creation of a legal framework within which we can proceed, with full support of the Ministry of Public Health," he says.
World bank estimates that 34% of Lebanon's population is unemployed. This especially affects college graduates of the nation. The Middle East has an extremely high percentage of college graduates - which, we are sure you are thinking, "Great...? So what's the problem?" Would you believe that 40% of these college-educated men and 30% of women leave the country to find work after aspiring to be successful in college? Yes, sir. When we discuss marijuana and cannabis benefits, we typically point out the medical promises the plant makes. But the particular economic foundation Marijuana could lay for Lebanon among other nations is, at the very least, worth putting out there.
Cannabis could help this desperate emigration problem. Dr. Bahij Arbid from the Ministry of Public Health is in high hopes the center will turn Lebanon into an "exporter of knowledge."
A very special friendship - as I put it - could very well happen between the Lebanese American University and the Medical Cannabis Research Center. MCRC will have strong ties to the university's arts and science college, pharmaceutical school, and medical program, opening doors to a new spectrum of work for these Middle Eastern graduates.
Universities in Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Israel are studying cannabis—with great success. With some of the region’s best universities and access to an underemployed but educated population, Lebanon could also become the next hot spot for lucrative cannabis research and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Landing: We know. Lebanon is light-years away, it seems. But PEOPLE, listen... it was not predicted that they would make it here: to possible de-stigmatization of the plant that has, and will continue to change and improve lives and worlds and countries and cities. There is no hope that is too small, and look where we are now.
Emerald's Triangle LLC