Morocco is set to legalize medical cannabis production and use as soon as next week under a Council of Ministers plan that would organize cannabis farmers into “cooperatives” which would sell their crop to local or international “processing” companies, according to a draft of the bill outlined by Morocco World News.
The measure would not allow cannabis production throughout the country, limiting it to six regions in the Rif mountains – the nation’s traditional cannabis-producing regions, the report says. Production would only focus on cannabis for “medical, pharmaceutical and industrial purposes,” according to the draft bill outlined in the report.
The bill says that Morocco’s illegal cannabis trade is worth about $15 billion – the majority of which ($14.5 billion) goes to drug traffickers rather than the farmers ($500 million). In recent years, residents of the Rif mountains have protested over economic inequality, according to a Reuters report.
Six years ago, the government reduced the amount of land in the region where cannabis is cultivated under a special status from 134,000 hectares to 47,000 hectares.
The nation’s Parliament, led by the moderate Islamist PJD, must still approve the reforms. Recreational cannabis production and use would remain outlawed.
In 2015, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime identified Morocco as the world’s largest producer of hashish and 235 tons of hash was seized in the country that year alone. The report found 80% of the national hash production is destined for export, leaving 20% for the local market.
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