Morocco’s first legal cannabis harvest happened in 2023, with a total of 294 metric tons. This followed the country’s approval for its cultivation and export for medicinal and industrial purposes, according to cannabis regulator ANRAC.

    The harvest was managed by 32 cooperatives involving 430 farmers, covering 277 hectares in the northern Rif mountain areas of Al Houceima, Taounat, and Chefchaouen, as reported by ANRAC in an email to Reuters.

    The United Nations drugs agency notes that approximately 47,000 hectares of the Rif region are dedicated to cannabis cultivation, which is about a third of what it was in 2003 due to government crackdowns.

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    This year, ANRAC is reviewing applications from 1,500 farmers organized into 130 cooperatives for cultivation. The cultivation of the local drought-resistant landrace, known as Beldia, began this month.

    While Morocco is a significant cannabis producer, the official use of cannabis for recreational purposes remains illegal. However, it is generally tolerated in practice.

    Almost a million people reside in areas of northern Morocco where cannabis is the primary economic activity. It has been cultivated and used publicly for generations, often mixed with tobacco in traditional long-stemmed pipes with clay bowls.


    The legalization aims to enhance farmers’ incomes and shield them from drug traffickers who control the illegal cannabis trade and export.

    Currently, two legal cannabis transformation units are operational, with two more awaiting equipment. Additionally, 15 cannabis products are in the process of being authorized for medicinal use, according to ANRAC.

    Morocco is also looking to capitalize on the growing global market for legal cannabis, having issued 54 export permits last year.