Times are steadily changing, the view of nations and their governments towards cannabis isn’t as rigid as it once was. Despite the fact that cannabis has been used in diverse cultures throughout the course of human existence, the initial reaction to general cannabis use was not promising. A war declared on drugs saw the medical and beneficial attributes of cannabis neglected as many dwelt on the possibility of dependence and side effects. However, with more knowledge about the true scope of the beneficial herb came a change in laws and policies.
One of the effects of this change is the global drive from prohibition to legalization. This is very evident in the US where despite the fact that cannabis use is considered illegal federally, a good percentage of the states have legalized medical and recreational cannabis use. Other countries such as Uruguay, Canada, Germany, and other European countries also have well-established cannabis industries for medical and/or recreational use. As the gospel of cannabis spreads more countries are walking the path of legalization, is Morocco set to be the next country to legalize cannabis? Read on to find out!
Cannabis legalization in Morocco
In a strange twist of events, Morocco looks set to legalize farming, exporting, and domestic sale of cannabis for medical and industrial use. This bold step comes as a turning point for the North African country as it is a change from the previous disposition of the Moroccan government. Cannabis is very important to Morocco because the nation has the Rif Mountains which are naturally blessed with cannabis farmers. With a global burgeoning market of cannabis bolstering through all ranks, this step by the Moroccan government could change the landscape for the farmers of the Rif mountains. It could also be the answer to the financial troubles that have been plaguing the region since the pandemic began.
The establishment of a cannabis industry through legalization is known to come with diverse economic benefits to countries. The cultivation of the medicinal herb ensures optimal activity for the farmers and also opens up diverse opportunities for members of the populace. The concurrent establishment of the supply chain with dispensaries, producers, and retailers further increases the commercial activities around the medicinal herb. This is the benefit that Morocco looks set to benefit from provided the legalization of cannabis for medical and industrial use becomes a reality.
What we know
Morocco is not new to the news about cannabis legalization. Series of attempts have been made towards the legalization of cannabis in Morocco however, all have failed till now. Though the country did not legalize the cultivation of the medicinal herb, it still ranks as one of the top producers of cannabis, especially on the African continent. A change in proceedings however seems to be in the works with the new bill expected to be brought to the Parliament for cannabis legalization.
PJD party is the co-ruling party in the Moroccan Parliament and their influence is important if cannabis legalization in Morocco is to become a reality. The party has the biggest pull in the Parliament and they have taken a stance to not be in opposition to cannabis legalization. This is likely to be a product of the change by the UN drug agency for the control of cannabis made in December 2020. Cannabis had initially been under the list of tightly controlled drugs under the drugs of the UN drug agency. However, countries came together last year to vote for the removal of cannabis under that category and Morocco was one of the countries that voted for that removal.
Cannabis farming has been existent in the Northern Rif Mountains of Morocco for a while as the region has suffered from economic inequality. The prohibition of cannabis also doesn’t help matters as the region has seen series of protests over economic problems. Many farmers in the region actively grow cannabis because though it is illegal, it is still tolerated in Morocco to an extent. However, these farmers are still being shortchanged because they are not reaping the full benefits of cannabis financially. This was also evident in the fact that the country went down from 134,000 hectares of cannabis in 2003 to 47,000 hectares six years ago.
What does cannabis legalization offer Morocco?
At this time, the goal of cannabis legalization in Morocco is that it provides an answer to some of the questions the country has been asking. Aside from helping to improve the finances of farmers and the economy of the nation, cannabis legalization will also help the country curb illicit activities. With such a wide cannabis farming potential, most of the revenues from this endeavor have benefited drug traffickers over the years. With the umbrella of prohibition and a wide international market for the product, drug traffickers have used illegal means to control the cannabis trade in the country.
Legalization will help the country take charge of this as they will be tasked with controlling activities involved in cultivation, processing, and retail activities. The country will also open up its populace to the immense benefits of medical marijuana which offers answers to a wide range of medical conditions. The proposal by the government is to set up an agency over production, sales, and transport while propagating industrial use. The provision by the Moroccan government doesn’t involve recreational use for now and once sufficient backing is offered to the plan in the House, it can easily come to fruition.
Morocco is one of the few African countries that is opening up its borders to cannabis legalization. The country looks set to enjoy the benefits of cannabis legalization after series of failed attempts. The move is expected to be a game-changer in many respects. It comes after the country voted alongside other countries in the UN for the removal of cannabis from the list of tightly controlled drugs. This is likely to be the first of many steps towards full legalization in Morocco, and as a cannabis lover I couldn’t be happier!
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