by Therin Miller | October 23, 2022
Following the passage of a law legalizing medical cannabis last year, Reuters reports that Morocco has now awarded its first ten licenses for the cultivation of cannabis. Al Houceima, Taounat, and Chefchaouen in the northern mountains will be able to grow cannabis to supply the demands of the recently legalized market, according to a state body.
The illegal cannabis trade in Morocco is estimated to be worth $15 billion, of which the majority ($14.5 billion) goes to drug traffickers rather than farmers ($500 million), according to a bill enacted in February 2021.
Morocco had previously granted special status to enable cannabis growing in a few rural locations, but seven years ago, the permitted area was cut in half, from 134,000 hectares to 47,000 hectares.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranked Morocco as the world's top producer of hashish in 2015, and 235 tons of the drug were found there in only one year. According to the research, just 20% of the country's hash output is intended for the domestic market; the remaining 80% is exported.
The bill aims to safeguard farmers from drug criminals who control the cannabis trade and illegally ship it to Europe while also increasing the incomes of farmers who have recently protested against wage inequality.
According to the law, cannabis can only be produced for "medical, pharmaceutical, and industrial purposes."