The Moroccan government is studying, this Thursday, March 04, 2021, a bill on the legal use of cannabis. A decision that is not seen with a very good eye by Algeria which shoots red balls on its neighbor. The Cheririfian kingdom is one of the world’s leading cannabis producers.
Morocco wants to legalize the therapeutic use of cannabis. According to the provisions of this bill, there is provision for the creation of a Moroccan agency to regulate activities related to cannabis. Its mission will be to develop an agricultural and industrial circuit in the regions authorized to produce the cannabis plant.Production will thus be limited to the volumes required for the medical, pharmaceutical and industrial aspects. Licensed cannabis growers would also be required to integrate agricultural co-operatives and sell their production exclusively to licensed companies.
According to a note from the Ministry of the Interior, this law would “improve the living conditions of farmers and protect them from drug trafficking networks”. The Moroccan authorities ensure that this step is in line with international law which authorises the use of the cannabis plant for medical and industrial purposes. The project also follows “the evolution of international law, from the prohibition of the use of the marijuana plant to the authorization of its use for medical and industrial purposes”, on the basis of “scientific advances that have shown its medicinal benefits”.
According to a study by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime published in 2020, Morocco’s annual production of cannabis is estimated at over 700 tonnes, worth $23 billion, or around €19 billion. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), cannabis surfaces in Morocco have been reduced in recent years as part of a major reconversion programme. They increased from 134,000 ha to 47,500 ha between 2003 and 2011.
A bone to chew for the Algerian press who gives it to heart. Indeed, the official website of the Algerian Radio accuses the Moroccan government of «covering its economic deficit due to the health crisis and the second Sahara war with the legalization of drugs». In a long article on the issue, the site links the Moroccan decision to the «economic and social crisis aggravated by the pandemic of the new Coronavirus and the closure of the Algerian-Moroccan borders», in addition to the «war that rages» between the Polisario Front and Morocco. Faced with the social situation in which the Moroccan citizen is plunged, the government has found no way out, except to adopt a trade that it seeks to legalize to silence the voices demanding a life in dignity, and which have intensified, as in Fnideq and other neighbouring cities,” the Algerian leaders denounced.
Echourouk, for its part, published an article entitled “Moroccan Islamists legalize cannabis cultivation in their country” to attack Morocco. “What raises suspicions this time is that a group led by “Islamists” will undertake this dangerous undertaking, which has begun to be promoted by some associations that advocate hashish as a medicine,” the article adds: “For some time now, Morocco has been seeking a legal text that would allow it to authorize the drug trade, under the pretext of “medical use”, and it is being promoted for this purpose through the Moroccan Coalition for the Medical and Industrial Use of Cannabis.”
As a reminder, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs removed cannabis from its list of the most dangerous drugs in December 2020. A decision that has marked the field to the recognition of the medicinal and therapeutic potential of this plant whose use and sale are prohibited in many countries.