Morocco seeking to legalize medical marijuana

In Top Stories by David Silverberg

Lawmakers in Morocco recently debated why the country should legalize marijuana for medical and industrial uses.

The discussions, began by one of Morocco’s main political parties, are seen as the first steps to introduce a draft law next year aimed at legalizing the plant, according to media reports.

But don’t expect full-out legalization. “We are not seeking to legalize the production of drugs, but to search for possible medical and industrial uses of this plant and create an alternative economy in the region,” said Milouda Hazib, head of the party’s parliamentary delegation.

Other politicians see vast potential for a country responsible for 42 percent of the world supply of marijuana.

Ahmed Benomar, the planning director of Morocco’s agency for the promotion and development of the north, “called for the state to subsidize legal exploitation of the drug to benefit the small-scale farmers and stop the illegal trade,” as Naharnet explains.

“We have done feasibility studies on the medical and industrial use of cannabis, and we found that farmers would earn less than they do by selling it illegally,” he told the assembled MPs, experts and civil society activists.

Authorities in Morocco  have proceeded with a slash-and-burn campaign against marijuana in the North African country, working to reduce planted areas to 47,000 hectares in 2010 from 137,000 hectares in 2003, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.