Morocco takes first step to legalise use of cannabis
London, Feb. 24, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Morocco is planning to legalise cannabis usage and is taking the first step on Thursday when government council will discuss a bill on the “legal use of cannabis,” a statement from the Head of Government office announced on Tuesday.
Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani will chair the government council, which will “consider” the bill on legalizing the use of cannabis, the statement reads.
The statement does not provide further details on the bill. However, the announcement about the bill comes just a few months after Morocco voted in favor of removing cannabis from the list of the UN’s Schedule IV category of drugs that have limited or no therapeutic use.
Morocco was the only member of the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND) in the Middle East and North Africa region to give a nod to the removal of cannabis from the list of toxic substances.
Algeria, Bahrain, and Egypt have all voted against the move.
The use of cannabis is illegal in Morocco; it is criminalized by the country’s Penal Code. But the drug is still among the most used substances in Morocco.
Authorities frequently crackdown on the trafficking of cannabis resin.
One of the recent operations took place on Monday in Rabat, where police seized 9.5 tonnes of cannabis resin.
A few years ago, a movement called “Maroc Cannabis 2016” called on the government to legalize cannabis production and Morocco.
Data from a 2019 report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) confirmed that Morocco is the world’s largest producer of cannabis. The country produces over three times more than the next highest contender, the European country Moldova.
Cannabis production in Morocco continues to grow, with the production of cannabis herbs increasing from 35,653 tons in 2016 to 35,703 tons in 2017, according to the report.
It remains to be seen whether the government will approve the bill on the legal use of cannabis in Morocco.
In addition to the bill on cannabis, the government council will examine three draft decrees about implementing the decree-law relating to the promulgation of exceptional measures for the benefit of employers affiliated to the National Social Security Fund (CNSS) and their declared employees.