Photo by: Yuri Kriventsoff

Moroccan Government Issues First Permits For Legal Cannabis Production

This marks the first time the Arab country is issuing these permits.

The Moroccan government recently gave 10 farmers permission to grow cannabis legally. This marks the first time the country will issue permits following the legalization of cannabis production last year.

According to the Institute of Security Studies, Morocco is part of a growing group of African countries who would like to position itself as a booming international legal market for cannabis. This new legal development will allow farmers in the northern mountain regions of Taounat, Al Houceima, and Chefchaouen to grow cannabis that will meet the legal market's demand. Before now, cannabis had been widely cultivated in Morocco illegally; however, the law passed by the Moroccan parliament last year does not permit the use of cannabis for recreation. The national agency, which regulates cannabis activity in Morocco, issued the permits and said that farmers would be encouraged to increase legal cannabis production to meet the demands of the market.

According to the Morocco World News, the Moroccan government is optimistic that this new development will help to improve the lifestyles of farmers, and increase their livelihoods amid a growing legal global market for the element. The global cannabis demand is growing and is projected to reach over US$ 100 billion in the next five years. If more African countries legalize legal cannabis, the industry could be worth more than $7 billion by 2023.

Because of Morocco's close proximity to Europe, it could potentially become a leading legitimate cannabis exporter. In 2020, Moroccan farmers collectively experienced a drastic income dip that fell from approximately $497 million a year in the early 2000s to less than $321 million dollars in 2020, according to an interior ministry study last year.

Before the legalization was implemented, Moroccan farmers indicated that they wanted the implementation to be sped up. In an earlier statement, Mohamed Abbout, head of the Rif Mountains Association said that the legalization would be a step in the right direction for the country

"Farmers are desperate when it comes to the drug trade,’ said Abbout. ‘That's why they're waiting for the legalization, so we can create a medicinal market."

News Brief
Photo By Thomas Winz

19 Dead After Consuming Toxic Alcohol in Morocco

Local media reported that after drinking contaminated alcohol, over a dozen people were rushed to the hospital, and about 19 people lost their lives.

Dozens of people have been hospitalized, and about 19 people dead after drinking toxic alcohol from a roadside stall in Morocco.

According to authorities, the owner of the stall, a 48-year-old suspect was taken into custody after investigators found over 50 liters of the liquid were found in his business establishment. The victims were reported to have consumed the alcohol in the store owner's shop before they began to have complications. A nurse at Ksar El Kebir told the media that victims who checked in at the hospital were suffering from vomiting, stomach cramps and headaches. According to comments from a local health ministry to reporters, nine bodies were initially found at the hospital on Tuesday and the death toll rose to 19 on Wednesday.

Because Morocco is a muslim country, the sale and consumption of alcohol is forbidden. Earlier this year, Moroccans started a petition, calling for Moroccan authorities to cancel Germany's renowned Oktoberfest in Morocco. Over 21,000 Moroccans signed the petition to cancel the event. Although the use of, and sale of alcohol is expressly forbidden in Morocco, there are business owners who secretly carry the items in their stores, and over the years, agencies have conducted research to research the uptick in alcohol consumption.

In spite of the country's active campaigns against the use of drugs and anti-alcohol awareness programs, alcoholic beverages have been among the top three most consumed drugs in the Arab country. The National Observatory of Drugs and Addictions (ONDA) released a report stating that tobacco is the most used drug in Morocco, and closely followed by that was cannabis, alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine, heroin, solvents and other glues as well amphetamines. The report pointed out that substance abuse was more rampant in rural areas, compared to urban areas, while abuse related to alcohol and co-dependence were an urban issue.

According to reports, earlier in August, eight people died after drinking contaminated alcohol in the northern Oriental region of Morocco, and about 20 died in 2021 last year in Eastern Morocco.

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