History of CBD and Cannabis: Morocco
As a coastal country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa, Morocco has suffered from its fair share of incipient cannabis trafficking, consumption, and cultivation.
With a climate similar to Southern California, the entire country features lush forests, tropical mountain regions, and dry conditions only in the sparse inland deserts. Boasting humid yet mild temperatures, the country is extremely geographically amenable to widespread cannabis cultivation that occurs year round.
In fact, as of 2016, Morocco is considered the world’s top supplier of cannabis and hashish. Despite the government’s attempts to disband cannabis criminal organizations, many cultivation and distribution operations are deeply entrenched with historic roots in Morocco’s development.
Cannabis, CBD, and Morocco
Ever since Morocco gained independence in 1956, cannabis has technically been illegal for recreational, medical, and industrial purposes. However, the government had a hard time enacting substantive policy due to a lack of law enforcement funding and the deep ties cannabis had to the country’s cultural roots.
Sometime between the seventh and fifteenth centuries, cannabis first arrived in Morocco through the Arab conquests. Though use started in small local pockets, it quickly spread upward and outward through every social and economic class.
Cultivation shifted from small schemes to massive plantations located in the far north Rif region of the country. Throughout the centuries, several sultans granted favorable treatment to large cannabis growers, since the crops provided a major source of revenue.
Of course, the colonial era and following independence soon shifted government into an anti-cannabis position. Wanting to be recognized on the world stage, Morocco joined several international organizations that pressed the country to criminalize cannabis.
In the sixties and seventies, an influx of Western tourists, hippies, and war veterans visited Morocco with the intention of finding cheap cannabis. This caused Morocco growing and distribution operations to grow much more powerful, widespread, and sophisticated in response to local demand.
Nowadays, cannabis growth is as popular and widespread as ever throughout the country. Since the issue is so widespread, government officials are mostly lenient on personal possession crimes while focusing on distribution schemes.
Many Moroccan families rely on the industry to provide a stable income. Whole lives, generations, and communities have been propped up by the cannabis trade in Morocco. Unlike other agricultural industries, the cannabis trade has always been incredibly lucrative due to its illicit nature.
Currently, cannabis remains illegal in Morocco due to a mixture of legal precedent and international pressure. If the country legalized cannabis, it could open a floodgate of illicit cannabis crime throughout the rest of North Africa and portions of Europe.