Following the legalization of cannabis cultivation for medicinal and industrial purposes in 2021, the Moroccan government has granted 609 licenses for cannabis cultivation, processing, trading, and export, more than half of which were granted to farmers.
According to EFe news agency, in 2023, through the Moroccan National Office for Food Hygiene and Safety (ONSSA), Morocco imported 21,000 hemp seeds that meet the requirements of laws and regulations (these seeds contain less than 1% THC). The seeds were used to grow 277 acres of cannabis, cultivated by a cooperative of 416 farmers.
The same source also explained that in 2023, the production of cannabis in Alhuseymas, Chefshawan, and Taunat reached 294 tons, with an average yield of 1 to 2.7 tons per hectare. These three provinces are where cannabis cultivation was first legalized and are historically the main areas where the plant was grown.
Aissam Merzouki, one of the licensed farmers, told EfE by phone that he was satisfied with the legalization of the activity because it allowed him to “work without fear of being arrested by the government.”
In the Tabelant region of Alhusemas province, Merzoki, his father, and three others have set up a cooperative for growing and producing cannabis on five acres of farmland. However, Merzoki also acknowledged that they did not reap many economic benefits in the first year of legalization due to poor seed income and “delayed supply in seedling form.”
He added that they were promised better seeds in the coming year, while he also asked the government to provide them with more convenient water for irrigation.
Morocco’s parliament passed a law in June 2021 that for the first time regulates the therapeutic and industrial use of the cannabis plant, but at the same time bans its “interesting” use. In March 2022, the Moroccan government passed a law to establish cannabis cultivation in the three northern provinces mentioned above.
According to a recent Interior Ministry report submitted to Parliament, the area of illegal cannabis cultivation in the country has decreased from 134,000 acres in 2003 to 29,557 acres in 2023, a reduction of 77 percent.