According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), in 2023, Morocco imported 21 licenses issued by the National Office for Food Safety (ONSSA), allowing the importation of 21,000 cannabis seeds that meet regulatory requirements (these seeds have a tetrahydrocannabinol content of less than 1%). These seeds were used to cultivate 277 hectares of cannabis, and the cultivation was carried out by a cooperative consisting of 416 farmers.
According to the same source, the cannabis production in the provinces of Al-Hoceima, Chefchaouen, and Tounate reached 294 tons in 2023, with an average yield of 1 to 2.7 tons per hectare. These aforementioned provinces were the first areas where cannabis cultivation was legalized and have historically been the main regions for growing this plant.
One of the licensed farmers, Aissam el Merzouki, expressed satisfaction with the legalization of this activity in a phone call with Agence France-Presse, stating that it allows him to work freely without fear of being arrested by authorities.
Maurizio and his father, along with three other individuals, have jointly established a cannabis cultivation and production cooperative in the Taberante region of Alhusemas Province, spanning 5 hectares of cultivable land. However, Maurizio also acknowledges that due to poor seed yields and delayed supply in the form of seedlings, they did not generate significant economic gains during the first year of legalization.
He added that they have been promised better-quality seeds next year, while also requesting the government to provide them with more convenient irrigation sources.
In June 2021, the Moroccan parliament passed a law that, for the first time, regulates the therapeutic and industrial uses of cannabis plants, while simultaneously banning their recreational use. In March 2022, the Moroccan government issued a decree specifying that cannabis cultivation will be limited to the aforementioned three northern provinces.
According to a recent report submitted to the parliament by the Ministry of Interior, the illegal cultivation area of cannabis in the country has decreased by 77%, dropping from 134,000 hectares in 2003 to 29,557 hectares in 2023.