BEIRUT: MP Walid Jumblatt has renewed calls to legalize the cultivation and sale of marijuana.
In a tweet late-Saturday, the head of the Progressive Socialist Party wrote that the time has come to sanction pot and end the state's prosecution of its sellers.
"It is time to allow for the cultivation of marijuana, and to drop the right to issue arrest warrants against people who work in this field," the prominent Druze leader said.
Jumblatt caused a stir in May when he announced unequivocally that he was for legalizing marijuana.
At the time, he told Al-Jadeed television that he supported the cultivation of the drug to help struggling farmers.
“Never in my life have I smoked marijuana, but I support growing cannabis for medical use and to improve the living conditions of farmers in north Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley,” Jumblatt had said.
“Let’s legalize cannabis and regulate its cultivation,” the politician said.
Once a thriving multi-billion-dollar business, cannabis cultivation was targeted by the Lebanese government in the early 1990s due to international pressure.
Crop substitution programs devised by the Agriculture Ministry in coordination with the United Nations and other international organizations have failed to yield positive results and Lebanese farmers continue to grow the lucrative crop despite yearly crackdowns by the state.