Morocco: Putting Legacy Growers at the Centre of Cannabis Reform
The world’s biggest exporter of hashish beat the world’s biggest importer of hashish in a penalty shoot-out at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Morocco has made it through to the last eight and represent Africa’s only hope at the tournament. So what’s going on back at home with cannabis in Morocco? This is what the Global Cannabis Report has to say.
Global Cannabis Report
9 December 2022 at 06:30:00
Extract from The Global Cannabis Report 2022.
One of the most significant countries to legalise cannabis in Africa is Morocco.
This North African country has a long and rich history of cannabis cultivation, both trade and use, which dates back centuries.
According to the United Nations, Morocco is the world’s largest producer of cannabis resin, and one of the largest exporters of cannabis into Europe.
In May 2021, Morocco adopted new laws that legalised cannabis for medical, cosmetic and industrial use, making it the first predominantly Muslim country to do so in the region. Recreational use of cannabis is, however, still strictly prohibited.
The announcement resulted in the formation of the National Agency for the Regulation of Cannabis Activities (ANRAC). The agency is chaired by the Interior Minister and it is responsible for regulating all cannabis related activity in the country.
The Moroccan government has earmarked three provinces for legal cannabis activity, namely; Al Hoceima, Chefchaouen and Taounate. These provinces, located in the impoverished mountainous region known as the ‘Rif’, are where illicit cannabis cultivation is concentrated in the country.
The decision to establish the legal cannabis industry in the Rif region indicates the government’s intention to transition existing cannabis activity into a legal framework and thereby enable economic growth.
The government also hopes that the new legal framework will curtail drug trafficking activity in the country, and reallocate more of the supply chain profit to farmers.
According to the government, over 60,000 families in the region, growing on 55,000 hectares of land, depend on cannabis for their livelihoods. In October 2022, Morocco issued its first ten cannabis cultivation permits, marking a significant milestone in the development of its local cannabis industry.
Other encouraging developments in Morocco include a number of medical cannabis research and training initiatives for healthcare professionals and key industry stakeholders. For example,
The Moroccan Cannabis Use Advisory Association (AMCUC), a recently established industry body for medical cannabis, has established a number of partnerships with local and international universities, research institutions and medical cannabis companies to further local knowledge about cannabis.
The organisation is also providing training for professionals through partnerships with Israeli and US based industry experts under the ‘Kif Takwine’ training programme.
Morocco’s unique and practical approach to legalising cannabis, mainly centred on the economic empowerment of legacy cannabis communities, could serve as a model for other countries in Africa and the Middle East, where communities have also historically depended on cannabis as a primary source of income. For example, Pondoland in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
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