History of CBD and Cannabis: Algeria
Though it’s not often talked about, Algeria has had an enormous influence on the global cannabis and hemp markets. It’s thought that cannabis was first introduced to the country during the Arab invasions of the ninth to twelfth centuries.
Later on, Algerians spread cannabis to France and a whole network of other European countries during the colonial era. As one of the largest countries in the continent of Africa, huge amounts of cannabis get trafficked all over the world to European countries, Morocco, and neighboring states.
Despite cannabis being illegal in Algeria, the geographical variation and vast amount of area between cities lends itself well to international criminal organizations. Over the past few years, officials have slightly shifted focus for penalization to a model of harm-reduction and treatment.
Additionally, Algeria is spending more of its finite legal resources to stop drug trafficking along the border, since this is a huge source of strain on international relationships. All in all, Algeria’s relationship to cannabis is something that has arisen over hundreds of years of political and social battles.
Cannabis, CBD, and Algeria
Before the early twentieth century, cannabis was sold openly in Algeria in many small shops, hookah bars, and cafes. It was only during the colonial French rule that restrictions began to be enforced.
Due to the high incidence of drug crime, Algeria’s laws are very strict. Mere possession of trace amounts of cannabis is punishable by two years in prison, while distribution typically nets a twenty year sentence.
Many of these punishments have arisen in concert with tightening restrictions all over the world. Western States began to condemn the use of cannabis, resulting in ripple effects all throughout African and Central Asian countries as they tried to adhere to international drug policy.
Additionally, illegal caravan activity across the borders of Algeria presents a large source of international strain. The Algerian government has accused Morocco of mindlessly letting the cannabis industry flourish, which had caused large border skirmishes and violence in 2013.
Locally, the story is very different. Hash, hemp, and cannabis have all configured neatly into residential life and Algerian culture.
It’s not uncommon to find small garden plots of marijuana on balconies in the city. Often, law enforcement will look the other way in small cultivation and consumption schemes.
Most commonly, cannabis is found growing in high altitude, mountainous areas in the South half of the country, since the climate is more amenable to large crops. Due to local production and strong international distribution chains, cannabis remains cheap and easily accessible in most parts of the country.
It will be interesting to see how Algeria reacts to shifting stances towards cannabis policy in the west. Since it was initially European pressure that forced cannabis criminalization in Algeria, increasing legality in Europe and the US may open the door for cannabis reform.