14 January 2015
BEIRUT: MP Walid Jumblatt has reiterated calls for legalizing the cultivation of cannabis by impoverished farmers in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley, stressing that the economic development should go hand in hand with the country’s fight against terrorism.
In comments published Wednesday in daily As-Safir, Jumblatt applauded the crackdown on Islamist inmates in Roumieh Prison as a daring security achievement which should be followed by development plans in underprivileged areas.
“After turning the page in the file of Roumieh prison, the state’s efforts should be now focused on consolidating security and stability in the Bekaa,” Jumblatt said.
“The treatment cannot be a security one only, but it should be backed by development (projects), and thus I still believe that the cultivation of hashish should be legalized because the theory of alternative crops had failed,” Jumblatt said.
He also underscored the need for a comprehensive development plan in Tripoli, especially in poverty-stricken neighborhoods which proved to be fertile grounds for the recruitment of jihadi extremists.
“What happened (in Roumieh prison) made us feel that there is a strong state, nonetheless, the fight against terrorism will be (very) long,” Jumblatt added.
Security forces dealt a painful blow to Islamist prisoners in Roumieh by dismantling their “operation room” in the prison’s notorious Bloc B, and moving them to another bloc which is more tightly controlled.