top of page
SA Landraces with Cannabis Plants. and species-min.png

CANNABIS INDUSTRY 

BREAKING  NEWS

Morocco Begins Modest Legal Cultivation, But Ultimately It Will Leverage Its Recreational Hash Reputation into Europe

Morocco Begins Modest Legal Cultivation, But Ultimately It Will Leverage Its Recreational Hash Reputation into Europe

Morocco began its first legal cannabis plantings in June 2023 in a Government-supported project. This is the first step in bringing the illegal market into the open, but there’s a long way to go before Moroccan hash gets to be above board.

Matthew Griffin and Souhail Karam

11 August 2023 at 14:00:00

This week, guest writers Matthew Griffin and Souhail Karam take a look at the country’s progress in legal cannabis cultivation. For further reading on the topic, check out Souhail’s in-depth story from late last year.

Seeds planted

Farmers have planted the first legal cannabis crop in Morocco, long a top producer of black-market hashish. For now, it’s shaping up to be a modest entry into the above-board market, but hopes are high the nation will one day become a key supplier to the steadily opening European market.

The country’s first growing season began in June 2023 after legal cultivation was authorized to a group of farmers and companies for medical and industrial use. The government has touted the project as an opportunity to boost revenue, create jobs and protect the environment.


Cultivation for recreational use is still banned, however, which experts say limits how quickly the industry will be able to grow. The project also faces resistance in the Rif, a mountainous region where the plant has long been cultivated — and where many growers remain loyal to drug barons who they say have supported their villages for generations.


READ: Morocco puts small-scale farmers at the centre of cannabis reform


“Cannabis has been in place in the region for centuries, and changing it from one day to the next is going to create resistance,” said Khalid Mouna, a professor at Moulay Ismail University in Meknes who studies Morocco’s cannabis economy.


While the government has licensed hundreds of farmers and dozens of companies ranging from seed importers to pharmaceutical firms, it’s hard to know what to expect in terms of production volumes. There are no official figures on how much area was planted or projections for output.


And there’s still strong competition from drug barons, who are increasing prices for hashish resin, much of which is sold in Europe’s illicit market. The higher prices are partially related to higher input costs such as fertilizers, but the barons also want to secure their access to farmers’ harvests by making the legal path less profitable for them, said Adardak Charif, a cannabis farming researcher based in the Rif.

‘Quite weak’

“Adherence by farmers to the legalization is quite weak,” Charif said, citing hurdles such as a requirement that farmers find a buyer for their crop before they receive a license.


The country isn’t alone in experiencing bumps on the road to legalization, according to Lawrence Purkiss, senior analyst at cannabis research firm Prohibition Partners. Around the world, traditional farmers have been held back from entering the legal market due to expensive upfront costs, administrative hurdles and quality standards that are difficult to meet for smaller businesses and cultivators. Even Canada and US states, which are among the most mature legal markets, have struggled to supplant their well-established illicit markets.


Morocco is of interest because it has advantages, said Alastair Moore, cofounder of cannabis-focused consultancy Hanway Associates. Its products have an established cachet, with Moroccan hashish a mainstay from the streets of Spain to the coffee shops of the Netherlands. That could give exporters a stamp of legitimacy. Its location just across the Mediterranean also grants it easy access to Europe, where nations such as German, the UK and Italy are opening up to cannabis. The are also trade agreements with the US and EU.


The nation’s state agency regulating legal cannabis activity has promised farmers that legalization will earn them four to five times the income they make from growing cannabis for hashish resin. Farmers are free to choose whether to participate, the agency’s head has pointed out. The state cannabis regulator ANRAC didn’t respond to a request for a comment.


Yet reaching Morocco’s full potential is unlikely as long as cultivation is limited to medical and industrial markets. Other countries have already snapped up market share, and the African nation won’t be selling the recreational hash it’s best known for in Europe. For now, the country doesn’t have formal plans to authorize cannabis cultivation for recreational sales.


Even if Morocco fully legalized the drug domestically, there isn’t an above-board international trade in recreational cannabis, though Hanway’s Moore expects that countries legalizing the drug will push for that to change to resolve supply issues.


“The real opportunity for Morocco in the long term is going to be in recreational,” Moore said, “because that’s where their brand is.”

#

The party says cannabis, like mineral resources, should be owned by the state and exploited for the benefit of the poor

EFF Calls for South African Cannabis Industry to be Nationalized

The party says cannabis, like mineral resources, should be owned by the state and exploited for the benefit of the poor

The President's Cannabis Consultant says the Plant will eventually be classified as an agricultural crop under DALRRD's regulation

Garth Strachan: Cannabis To Be an Agricultural Product That Could Contribute R6 B – R25 B to SA’s GDP.

The President's Cannabis Consultant says the Plant will eventually be classified as an agricultural crop under DALRRD's regulation

Only a handful of SAHPRA-accredited growers are actually exporting as the medicinal cannabis sector lags behind expectations

SA’s Medicinal Cannabis Sector in Trouble as ‘Grey’ Market Flourishes

Only a handful of SAHPRA-accredited growers are actually exporting as the medicinal cannabis sector lags behind expectations

5.cannabiz-africa Hemp -min.png

Cannabis in South Africa: The People’s Plant

We are a civil society organisation with the interests of the existing Cannabis industry and the Human Rights of ALL citizens at heart.

WE’RE BRINGING A NEW STANDARD

We are more than just a cannabis retail company. We are about a lifestyle that promotes vitality, balance & good health.

Resources & Equipment

Explore cannabis growing equipment for growing weed at home. 

Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re looking to enhance your outdoor or indoor weed grow setup – we have the perfect range of cannabis growing equipment to match your marijuana growing ambitions. 

Find everything from LED grow lights, grow tents, fans, and hydroponic setups, to environmental equipment and controls, harvesting accessories, extraction equipment and plenty more. 

Design your ideal cannabis growing setup with high quality growing equipment available in South Africa. 

Explore cannabis growing equipment we’ve curated from reliable online suppliers in South Africa

bottom of page