You can take my ganja—when you pry it from my cold, dead hands:
Inside his hash factory in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Ali Nasri Shamas pulls out a two-foot long machete.
“This is for ISIS and the Nusra Front and anyone who supports them,” says Shamas, referring to the jihadi groups encroaching on Lebanon’s border. He smiles, running the blade of his knife gently along the sleeve of his leather jacket before cutting the air with it. “We have the machetes ready for them, just like they do.”
Shamas’s factory is just 30 minutes from the Syrian border and he says he and his fellow hash growers are ready to take on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front who have taken over swathes of Syria and Iraq are threatening to invade Lebanon.
Three tons of cannabis sits on the floor inside his processing plant. Workers sift through the ten-foot high heaps, separating stalks and stems amid a cloud of cannabis dust.
Lebanese Red and Blonde hash varieties are world-renowned, and Lebanon’s hash farmers have long been well-armed to defend their crops from government destruction.
That means that Lebanese security forces who once confronted Bekaa Valley drug cultivators now have a shared interest with them in defending border regions from attacks from Syria.
“We are ready to support all the factions in Lebanon against ISIS and the Nusra Front,” says Shamas.
When jihadis attacked the village of Brital in October of last year, a band of cannabis farmers headed to the area to help defend it. Abbas, who asked not to use his real name, was among them.
“When we heard they were attacking Brital, we grabbed our weapons and jumped in the trucks,” says Abbas, who spent seven years in prison on drug trafficking charges. “To us, ISIS is nothing. Their strategy is to scare people. But we were not afraid.”
Who needs the 82nd Airborne when you have the Bekaa Valley Dope Growers Association?
It’s a serious point. As dangerous and depraved as ISIS is, why nationalize the fight against it? Yet again (and again) we see how private enterprise solves problems that governments can only further screw up. In his own perverted way, Obama did more to defeat radical Islam in his pot-haze days than he could ever manage today. Spark one up for peace, sir. You know you want to.