Moroccan officials mull cannabis legalization for industrial, medical reasons


Morocco has long been known as a Mecca of cannabis cultivation and hash exportation, with Moroccan hash long prized for its potency and quality. The only thing keeping it from becoming an accepted commodity is that pesky thing called “legality,” as cannabis isn’t legal in Morocco.
But that might change soon. The Moroccan parliament has begun hearings on the possibility of legalizing the production and exportation of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes.

“We are not seeking to legalize the production of drugs, but to search for possible medical and industrial uses of this plant and create an alternative economy in the region,” Milouda Hazib, head of the Party for Authenticity and Modernity which organized the discussions, told
The plan (as of now) would be to find legal avenues for cannabis farmers to unload their harvests other than through the drug trade. Essentially, the government would buy up the cannabis and then sell it over to producers. The move comes as a response to failed policies and a need to keep local farmers employed.
As it stands, the cultivation of cannabis represents a $10 billion industry in Morocco and accounts for nearly 10 percent of the national economy. The United Nations estimates that nearly 40 percent of the word’s weed comes from the countryside of Morocco.
Cannabis money helps fuel everything from local produce vendors to real estate development in the communities. The money is so tied into everyday life in parts of the country, that prior policies of eliminating cannabis altogether caused major issues.
“Security policies aren’t solving the problem because it’s an economic and social issue so the PAM is trying to find a credible alternative,” one PAM representative said. “We think this crop can become an important economic resource for Morocco and the citizens of this region.”
PAM says they plan to introduce legislation in 2014.
Below, check out a special on Moroccan hashish and hashish culture from Anthony Bourdain and CNN: