FEW countries Produces more cannabis than Morocco, where locals mix it with tobacco and call it Kiff, Means “greatest happiness”. Joy extends to Europe, where much of the cannabis ends. Riff farmers, a poor mountainous region in northern Morocco, produce most of their supply. They work in legitimate gray areas. Cannabis cultivation violates Moroccan law, but is allowed in riffs.
A bill passed by Congress but not yet approved by the King may reveal the situation, at least to some extent. It will legalize the cultivation, use and export of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes (such as textile hemp). However, the proposed law does not legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. And it will only allow cannabis cultivation in certain areas of the country, such as riffs.
Rif does almost nothing else. “There is no infrastructure, no school, no hospital, nothing but cannabis,” says Cannabis leader Charif Adardak. NGO It facilitates the development of riffs.It has long been a place of rest because of what the locals call government negligence. Hogura (Humiliating treatment by the state). Former King Hassan II quelled the rebellion there in the 1950s. His son, Mohammed VI, has supported and reconciled development projects in the region.
However, King Muhammad’s plans are not very advanced. Large-scale protests by Riffian in recent years have sometimes become violent. The region is still dependent on cannabis production. The government now sees tolerance for trade as a way to buy peace.
One of the reasons Morocco is now legalizing is in December United Nations Removed medicated cannabis from the list of the most dangerous drugs. The proposed law will improve many riffians and free them from the international drug smuggling network, says Moroccan Interior Minister Abdel Affi Raftit. By regulating trade, the government may also be able to curb the environmental damage of riffs suffering from deforestation and soil degradation as farmers adopt new hybrid strains of cannabis.
Many cannabis farmers in Riff believe that the government is smoking. Some people are afraid that they may be out of business by companies or connected business people who can navigate the rules well. Riff farmers are not accustomed to growing cannabis according to the strict legal standards often imposed by importing countries for medicinal purposes.
Some are worried about future competition with other regions. Even riff farmers don’t have enough medical cannabis demand to keep their business going. Cannabis is grown on 73,000 hectares of land in Morocco, says Tom Blickman of the Transnational Institute, a Dutch think tank. Demand for medical cannabis can support between 5,000 and 8,000 hectares.
Demand for industrial cannabis is high, but its value is low. Its production is “in quantity, not quality,” says Brickman. That’s bad for riffs. Nestled in the mountains, this remote area is inaccessible and ideal for illegal cannabis cultivation. However, cannabis production is easier in flat areas with better infrastructure that can support large farms.
Riffs are also complaining that the proposed law does not provide amnesty to approximately 48,000 farmers who have cannabis-related arrest warrants hanging on them. However, some see the law as a precursor to the legalization of recreational cannabis. It will make many Moroccans the happiest. ■■
This article was published in the printed Middle East and Africa section under the heading “High in the mountains”.