A Lebanese farmer harvests cannabis in the Bekaa valley amid a lack of security action because of regional turmoil.

The Syrian civil war has led to a surge in cannabis production in Lebanon as the country’s army is forced to focus on security rather than drug eradication.

In the Bekaa Valley, Ali Nasri Shamas carries a revolver by his side and an automatic rifle in the back of his car, weapons he says he’s ready to use if the army moves in to try to destroy his lucrative cannabis crop.

But he may not need them this year. With Syria’s civil war 30 miles away, Lebanese security forces have other priorities than their annual showdown with the Bekaa hashish growers.

“If they want a confrontation that’s no problem for us, it will be harvest season soon,” Mr Shamas says, standing in a field of the green, spiky-leafed plants from which hashish resin is extracted.

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