Morocco’s Council of Ministers has discussed a draft bill that is set to result in the legalization of cannabis, within tight limits.
The council will approve the bill next week, confirming that Morocco will indeed legalize cannabis use.
The draft bill, as seen by Africa24.news, proposes to build a legal cannabis industry by organizing cannabis farmers into “cooperatives” which in turn would sell their crop to local or international “processing” companies.
The bill also reveals the scale of Morocco’s cannabis industry. Morocco’s government believes the industry to be nearly twice as high as previous estimates, which had identified a $8 billion market.
The draft legislation estimates profits of Morocco’s illicit cannabis trade at $15 billion. Those profits mainly flow into the coffers of organized crime groups and drug traffickers. Under the current illegal status of cannabis, farmers earn a combined half a billion dollars, while drug traffickers earn nearly $14.5 billion.
Morocco appears to intend to create a new model that is based on farmers’ cooperatives while tightly controlling what happens to the crop.
The draft bill does not propose to allow cannabis production across Morocco, only the six regions in the Rif mountains that currently have a special status will be allowed to produce legal cannabis.
The country will also require cannabis farmers to acquire a license and be of Moroccan nationality, of legal age, and live within Morocco’s traditional cannabis-producing regions.
The draft bill proposes a national agency in charge of monitoring the legal cannabis trade. The “National Agency for the Regulation of Indian Hemp Activities” would monitor and regulate Morocco’s cannabis trade. Morocco’s production would focus on cannabis for “medical, pharmaceutical and industrial purposes” and allow only companies registered in Morocco to apply for a marketing license, export license, or import license.