The Moroccan government, the world’s leading hash producer, on Thursday ratified a bill to legalize the medical use of cannabis but confirmed a ban on its recreational use. However, Parliament still needs to give its final approval to the legislation.
The bill calls for the establishment of a national authority to regulate the industry and set up cooperatives to grow “certified” cannabis plants.
The move would “transform illegal cannabis plantations into” legal and sustainable activities that generate jobs “, according to the text of the bill.
According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) last year, the North African country is the world’s largest producer of cannabis or cannabis.
Morocco’s cannabis production was estimated at more than 700 tonnes in a 2020 study by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.
Figures published by the Moroccan authorities this week showed that 55,000 hectares of land in the northern mountainous Rif region were used to illegally grow hashish in 2019.
The authorities did not give newer estimates, but in 2018 production was estimated at 45,000 hectares.
Legalization of cannabis for medical use will place Morocco in a global market that is growing at 30 percent per year and at 60 percent per year in Europe, according to Morocco’s Interior Ministry.
State regulation will improve farmers’ living conditions and protect them from illegal drug trafficking networks, the ministry said.