Moroccan authorities recently announced that they have foiled in the coastal city of Agadir a smuggling operation of 17.4 tons of cannabis heading to Scandinavian countries. The drugs were packed in bags to be transported by vessels on the high seas, authorities said in a statement.
Moroccan security services arrested seven people and seized $100,000 in cash, two trucks, four cars, ships, arms and ammunition. Just the week before, Morocco said it had aborted a smuggling involving 6.3 tons of cannabis heading to Europe. The World Customs Authority reported that in 2013, 65% of the hashish seized by customs worldwide originated from Morocco, with most of it heading to Europe.
Morocco produces a substantial portion of the world’s hashish; it was the top producer for the 2002-2010 period before a 2012 study placed Afghanistan as the top producer. Prior to the internationalization of the cannabis trade, Moroccan cannabis was consumed locally, smoked in a long sebsi pipe or mixed into food, and was also used in Sufi religious rituals.
Cannabis was banned in Morocco following independence, but the traditional tolerance for its production in the Rif, and the practical recognition that cannabis makes up a large share of the national economy, has led to debate as to legalizing cannabis.
In 2009, Fouad Ali el Himma received multi-partisan support amongst Moroccan politicians for his proposal to re-brand cannabis as a traditional Moroccan herbal remedy rather than a dangerous drug, and called for national debate and reduced prosecution of farmers.
In 2014, the Party of Authenticity and Modernity proposed a draft law which would keep consumption of recreational cannabis illegal, but would license and regulate growers and redirect their output to licit medicinal and industrial cannabis products.