In an era where industrial and medical marijuana are finally getting reconsiderations, one of Africa’s biggest cannabis market appears to be wobbling into despair.
Morocco, the North African country with a cannabis industry that is worth USD 8.84 Bn, is experiencing a landslide. First off, the high-profile seizures of tonnes of the herb dampen the already soiled marijuana market.
Secondly, as a result of the government’s clampdown on the illegal use or trade of the plant, the country is missing out big time of German exports.
This week, Morocco’s national security uncovered up to 9.5 tones of cannabis rein, seized from a refrigerated lorry close to the nation’s capital, Rabat.
It’s reported that another 380 bales of ganja was hidden among a cargo of foodstuffs. The driver, who was arrested on the spot, had about USD 3.6 K on him when the shipment was hijacked.
However, that interception is just the latest in a string of events that shed the spotlight on the Moroccan cannabis landscape. Earlier this month (Feb), 9.2 tonnes of the resin were founded hidden in sand-buried bales in the country’s northwestern region.
In December 2020, over a tonne of the commodity was founded being smuggled on the backs of shepherd-less camels in the south.
The seizures are just as substantial are the seemingly slow process the government is taking to adequately regulate cannabis. While the authorities appear to be going slowmo on the medical/industrial legalisation, other markets are making the run for it.
It’s because of this delay that Morocco’s official standing as Europe’s largest cannabis supplier is shaking, as other markets where the drug is legalised have also started selling to the the European market.
Normally, Morocco provides 70 percent of the entire of cannabis consumed in Europe. According to a recent statement, the Moroccan government will meet to discuss the legal use of cannabis on February 25 (2020).
It’s uncertain if things would be finalised then, but while the nation probably drags it feet on this, other cannabis markets are grabbing the opportunity.
Countries like the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Australia, Israel and Uruguay are exporting more cannabis to Europe than Morocco now, and that’s because the African nation is neither taxing its product nor provider its producers with labour protections and benefits.
By voting in favour of the United Nations scratching cannabis off the list of dangerous drugs, Morocco signified that it’s part of the international community that is pro-marijuana. But promoting the legal use of the plant back home is taking so much time.
Africa’s cannabis legalisation is isolated, but the financial aspects of these developments aren’t any problem, at least for a market that could reach USD 7.1 Bn in the next 2 years. The continent has one of the cheapest cannabis cultivation licenses in the world.
If Morocco wants to win a wager even more than USD 8.84 Bn for this market, it would need ditch the slowmo and regulate well to stop the need for seizures.
Featured Image: Inquirer.com