YAMMOUNEH, Lebanon — On a mild September morning, about two dozen girls and women, swathed in brightly colored shawls that revealed only their eyes, picked through a verdant field. With sickles that glinted in the waning summer sun, they reaped the blanket of spiky-leaved stalks stretching to the foot of the nearby hills.
The crop was cannabis. And it’s a lifeline, advocates say, that Lebanon urgently needs.
The country is scrabbling to escape an existential, multilayered crisis that has gutted the currrency to less than a quarter of its previous value, brought the specter of shortages to a place renowned for its excess and spurred a full-scale rejection of the country’s ruling order.
Most of all, Lebanon is broke. It produces very little, relying on imports for almost everything, and dollars are scarce.
In its desperate drive for foreign currency, it’s trying to develop homegrown industries, including taking advantage of what is arguably its most famous export: Lebanese hash.