Morocco’s Cannabis Conundrum: Farmers Push for Legalization Amid Government Hesitation

As Morocco’s cannabis industry continues to flourish, farmers are increasingly urging the government to legalize the plant. Despite being the world’s leading provider of hashish, cannabis has remained illegal in Morocco for over six decades, with a thriving black market that supplies Europe and beyond.

In 2021, the Moroccan parliament took a significant step towards legalization by passing a law allowing cannabis cultivation for pharmaceutical and industrial purposes. However, the country’s farmers remain skeptical about the government’s intentions, fearing that legalization will only benefit big businesses and pharmaceutical companies.

The National Agency for the Regulation of Activities Related to Cannabis (ANRAC) has been working to address these concerns, with its head, Mohamed El-Guerrouj, praising the recent growth of legal cannabis production in the Rif region. The agency has granted 161 cultivation permits this year, a significant increase from last year’s 54 permits.

Despite the progress, many farmers remain hesitant to switch from the black market, citing concerns about upfront costs, administrative hurdles, and quality control. Some farmers also distrust the government, given its history of harsh laws and enforcement practices.

However, proponents of legalization argue that it could generate up to $15 billion in revenue for the country. “The real opportunity for Morocco lies in recreational use,” says Alastair Moore, co-founder of cannabis-focused consultancy Hanway Associates. “That’s where their brand is.”

As the debate continues, Morocco’s farmers are watching closely, hoping that the government will finally listen to their demands and legalize cannabis once and for all. With 80% of the population supporting legalization, it’s clear that the tide of public opinion is shifting in favor of cannabis reform.


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