Morocco Moves Forward On Medical Cannabis Implementation

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The North African country allows medical and industrial hemp cultivation but only in three northern states

Yet another African country has now moved forward with some form of cannabis legalization. Morocco’s cabinet adopted a draft decree last Thursday allowing cultivation, under strict regulations and control – amending parts of the country’s cannabis law in the process.

Morocco changed its law to allow for the cultivation of medical cannabis in August 2021 and established a regulatory agency that is responsible for the oversight of the cultivation, export, and sale of the plant.

It is still illegal to consume cannabis for recreational purposes in Morocco.

The new decree assigns responsibility for supporting applicants and other stakeholders to the National Agency for the Legalization of Cannabis-related Activities. The agency will establish a procedure for monthly reporting on cannabis cultivation, seed production and stock and an annual inventory from each nursery. Other agencies, including the 

That said, the new legislation also strictly limits reform to three states – all found in the north of the country. Al Hoceima, Chefchaoen and Taounate were the three initial areas chosen. This does not rule out the possibility of allowing cultivation in other provinces – depending on the demand of national and international investors.

A Major Provider of Illicit Cannabis Goes Legit

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Morocco was the world’s top producer of illicit cannabis in 2019. 

The legalization of the market here will probably begin to impact that trade – although of course as even Canada has learned, even full recreational reform does not eliminate at least the grey market. It may impact the amount of hash now found in the black market across Europe, starting with Spain. 

Morocco will certainly benefit more if such activities can be turned into legitimate income. It would allow the country to begin competing for at least the European medical market, which already has the attention of countries further south (including South Africa and Lesotho).

Obtaining investment for the sector now is obviously critical. It remains to be seen if the country can attract both domestic and foreign income for the purpose of developing its cannabis market.

Morocco becomes the 4th country in Africa, after Lesotho, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, to attempt to regulate their cannabis sector. So far, however, they remain the only African country to attempt to limit legal cultivation in a certain area of the country.

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