Illicit cannabis farming thrives in Lebanon

"It was the need to survive that forced me into it," says cannabis farmer Ali Nasri Shamas
BBC News (UK)
October 26, 2016

Ali Nasri Shamas"When I was young I wasn't for it or against it. All I used to think about was going to school, graduating and getting a job. But there is poverty in this part of the country, the state is non-existent." The "it" Shamas refers to is the business of selling cannabis, something he first became involved with six years ago. He is now one of Lebanon's biggest growers and most prolific traders, with 130 hectares of hash fields in the country's Bekaa Valley and more than 50 employees. As he shows off his production factory and his plants - which grow openly in fields by the side of public roads - he happily poses for photos, showing little regard for the illegality of his work.