MOROCCO. Rabat: Morocco is a step closer to legalizing the medical use of cannabis after the government ratified a draft law.
However, on Thursday, the government upheld a ban on its recreational use, and the draft law for medical use still needs parliament approval.
According to the draft legislation, the move would “reconvert illicit” cannabis plantations into “legal and durable activities that generate jobs”.
Last year, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that Morocco is the world’s biggest producer of cannabis resin or hashish.
Morocco’s production of cannabis was estimated at more than 700 tonnes in a 2020 study by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.
Figures released by the authorities of Morocco recently showed that 55,000 hectares (around 136,000 acres) of land in the northern mountainous Rif region were being used to illicitly grow hashish in 2019.
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In 2018, production of the commodity was estimated at 45,000 hectares but recent estimates were not available.
Legalizing cannabis for medical use will position Morocco in the global market. According to Morocco’s interior ministry, the market is growing at an annual rate of 30 percent, and by 60 percent a year in Europe.
“State regulation will improve farmers’ living conditions and protect them from illegal drug trafficking networks,” the ministry had said.