Morocco have issued the first ten permits for domestic cannabis cultivation following approval of the new cannabis bill earlier this year, a law that passed through parliament in 2021.
Reuters reports that the number of licenses granted will gradually rise to meet the growing demands of the legal market. Such licenses will be issued to farming cooperatives in the northern mountain areas of Chefchaouen, Al Houceima and Taounat.
The National Agency for Regulating Cannabis Related Activities have appointed an interim General Director, Governor of El Jadida Province Mohamed El Guerrouj. He will lead the agency, which was formed in June 2022, until a permanent General Director is appointed.
Legacy Cannabis Trade in Morocco
The North African country, infamous for being world leaders within the illicit trade of hashish – otherwise known as ‘kif’ – will now be able to financial benefit from the legal trade of cannabis-based products, taking funds out of the hands of criminal operations trafficking the drug.
A 2017 report from the Transnational Institute highlighted that “figures cited by the interior ministry, an estimated 90,000 households, or 760,000 Moroccans, depend for their livelihoods on cannabis production”.
Moreover, “observers estimate that 140,000 growers are involved in cannabis cultivation, and if their families are included, more than one million people depend on the illicit economy.”
Unsurprisingly, the trade value of illicit products from Morocco is immense, with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reporting in their 2019 World Drug Report, that illegal exports are worth about $8.84 billion (USD).
Whilst it is a significant policy change, recreational cannabis in Morocco will remain illegal.
Consumption of the plant domestically will be permitted for medical purposes, with the government following suit of countries around the world in supporting patients who could best benefit from the plant, and medicines derived from it.
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