Moroccan Farmers Urging Government To Legalize Cannabis

in Culture

More than ever before, the people of Morocco are urging the government to finally legalize cannabis. Three years ago, the plant was approved for export. Since then, farm communities have continued to produce large quantities of cannabis on fertile land, notably in the Rif region. The most recent call for legalization gained global publicity when the National Agency for the Regulation of Activities Related to Cannabis (ANRAC) visited these farms to celebrate the continued growth of the first waves of legal cannabis. 

For the past six decades, cannabis has remained illegal in Morocco, despite being the world’s leading provider of hashish, with an infamously successful black market that provides to Europe and beyond. In May 2021, the parliament took a significant step by passing a law allowing the cultivation of cannabis for pharmaceutical and industrial purposes. It is estimated that the country could generate $15 billion with full legalization. “In Morocco, opening a discussion is necessary because regulating cannabis for medical and industrial purposes will not eliminate the existing black market,” said Shakib Al Khayari, coordinator of the Moroccan Coalition for Medical and Industrial Use of Cannabis.

However, even if the country legalizes cannabis, there is intense distrust, fear, and pain among farmers. Although a state plan aims to ensure indigenous peoples receive equal financial benefits from potential cannabis businesses, there remains doubt. Many farmers who would rather stick to the black market to avoid the upfront costs, administrative hurdles, and quality control. Not to mention, a huge shift in production will have to happen that’ll no doubt raise costs of production. Khalid Mouna, a professor at Moulay Ismail University in Meknes who studies Morocco’s cannabis economy, recently told Bloomberg, “Cannabis has been part of the region’s economy for centuries, and changing it overnight will face resistance.”

Complicating …

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Author: Jack Giroux / High Times

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