Article: Lebanon economic crisis: Hashish farmers tap into wellness industry

An interesting piece published over the weekend about Lebanese cannabis farmers looking for new markets for their product as standard hashish product prices spiral downwards

MiddleEast Eye reports

With the Lebanese currency losing 80 percent of its value, farmers are questioning the economic viability of a product that has sustained them for generations.

“Before the crisis (the price) was $600 per 1.25kg” of hashish on average, said Talal Chamas, a 23-year-old business graduate and farmer.

Last year’s crop fetched just 500,000 Lebanese lira per 1.25kg – now worth only $70 – after the government clamped down on exports and the country’s economy plunged. 

In the village of Buday, instead of giving up hope, one family sees this as a positive chance to innovate. Undaunted by the drop in revenue, they aim to diversify into sustainable, healthy products more suited to the wellness industry than the illegal drug trade.

Hamza Chamas, 34, is a founding member of the initiative, in charge of research and development. He explains how, after the buds are removed to be processed into hashish, farmers usually burn the rest of the hemp plant – “but there is a lot of business in this stem!” he says.  

“Our plant here gives us everything,” Hamza says. “The big vision is to create an alternative ecosystem for the village that belongs to us, from what we have.”

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