Morocco has authorised a decree to issue cannabis cultivation licences in a number of regions as the country establishes its legal industry.
Morocco World News reports that the decree selected Al Hoceima, Chefchaouen and Taounate as the areas where cannabis will be cultivated for medical and export purposes. As national and international demand is determined, the decree contains the possibility of approving further regions for cannabis cultivation.
Cannabis legalisation underway in Morocco
The decree sets out a licensing system which will regulate all aspects of the cultivation, production, processing, transport, marketing, export and import of cannabis and associated products.
Companies will be able to apply for cannabis cultivation licences through the National Agency for the Legalisation of Cannabis-related Activities (NALCA), the body responsible for facilitating cannabis administration procedures.
Under the law, NACLA will purchase the plant from farmers and sell it to pharmaceutical firms.
Licence holders must provide NALCA with monthly and annual reports detailing their input and output of stock, seeds and cannabis products. This is to avoid illicit cannabis-related activity developing out of the new legal industry.
Morocco: historical cannabis cultivator
Morocco has a rich history of cannabis cultivation and is the largest producer of cannabis resin worldwide, according to figures from the 2020 United Nations Drugs and Crime report.
The generational knowledge gained over centuries of cultivation, alongside the country’s favourable geographical location as a gateway to Europe, highlights the economic potential for Morocco in embracing legal cannabis.
A draft decree for the establishment of a domestic cannabis industry was approved by the country’s lead executive body in May 2021.
Designed to transmute the illicit market into a legal, regulated one, the legislation looks to legalise cannabis for medical, cosmetic and industrial purposes. This means that recreational consumption of the plant will remain illegal.
Official figures estimate that 400,000 people currently live on the cultivation of cannabis. The legal market is expected to triple the turnover received by farmers serving the illicit market.
As part of the legalisation framework by Morocco’s interior ministry, research conducted indicates substantial socioeconomic and environmental benefits resulting from the creation of a legal cannabis industry.
The aim of the legalisation framework is to transform illicit crops into sustainable assets that generate value, income and employment.
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