Morocco’s House of Representatives adopted Bill 13.21 on the legal use of cannabis for medical purposes. While 119 deputies said “yes” to the bill, which was voted on in a parliamentary session, the number of those who voted against it remained at 48. The Justice and Development Party (PJD) was the only party of the government majority that rejected the bill. In order for the bill to come into force, the second wing of the parliament must also be approved by the Advisory Council.
In a statement, the Ministry of the Interior stated that the bill will benefit farmers by increasing their earnings. It is claimed that the law will produce “promising and reliable job possibilities.”. The bill also shows that the legalization of cannabis could give Morocco an additional footing in European markets, including in Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany. On the other hand, recreational use remains prohibited and liable to prosecution. The legalization of cannabis for medical purposes use aims to improve living conditions and protect people from drug trafficking networks.
Morocco is ranked the world’s largest producer of cannabis resin, according to the 2020 annual report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The figures recently revealed in Rabat show “55,000 hectares cultivated in 2019”, mainly in the North, with annual revenues which have risen from around 500 million euros in the early 2000s to nearly 325 million euros in 2020, and a “consolidated turnover in Europe” of nearly 10.8 billion euros.
It was announced that the bill legalizing the use of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes in Morocco was approved by the Council of Ministers on 11 March and submitted to the parliament at the beginning of April.
The issue of legitimizing the use of cannabis has been causing controversy in Morocco for some time. Some groups argue that cannabis can be planted like other crops, while others warn that smuggling may increase in areas where it is cultivated.