A bill to legalize medical cannabis is widely expected to pass in Morocco this week after multiple previous attempts at reform have failed
As Reuters reported last weekend, the African country of Morocco plans to pass a bill this week to allow for the farming, export and domestic sale of cannabis for medical and industrial use.
The idea is to use such revenue to help impoverished farmers in the Rif mountains.
Although this legislation will finally legalize cannabis in the country, Morocco is no stranger to the cannabis plant. Indeed, the country has been one of the top global producers of the illicit variety according to the UN. In December, Morocco was one of the countries to vote for the removal of cannabis from Schedule IV classification internationally.
The Impact on Europe
The change in this North African country’s drug policies could have potentially huge knock-on effects in several places, starting with Europe – and not just in helping to stem the illicit cannabis and hash flows north into the region from Morocco. Legalization of the cultivation and trade routes will do much to clean up corruption and the violent black market that has long also been associated with the same.
However, what it will also do is introduce a huge potential source of at least raw cannabis that can then be processed in Europe, even if it is not grown there. If not introduce
The implications as a result, both for the medical market as well as the industrial one is large.
Cannabis as High-Value Cash Crop
As countries in Europe continue to set official prices along the supply chain (see most recently Portugal’s point of sale medical pricing), it means that the hunt for high-quality cannabis at price points that can only be created with less than Northern European labour rates will rev up to a new urgency. Particularly as countries like Germany also begin to establish in-country extraction facilities.
Even so, cannabis is certainly likely to remain a cash crop with a premium that beats most other kinds of agriculture. For that reason, poor farmers everywhere, including places like Morocco, stand to benefit.
While growing cannabis legally of course is not a panacea, anywhere, for embedded social and economic problems, creating legitimate cultivation markets for it is also proving to be good for starting to address some of them.
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