By / June 1, 2022

Legal Cannabis in Morocco: Six Bylawys Needed to Complete Legalization

With legal cannabis in Morocco gradually taking shape, there are now expectations that new decisive steps are coming within days. Following the law adopted in June 2021 and the recent decree relating to authorized areas for the cultivation and production of cannabis, six bylaws are still necessary to complete the legal framework. Other developments will, more than likely, also take place.

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Bylaws Needed to Authorize the Agency in Charge of Legal Cannabis in Morocco

The coming texts, which will finalize the regulation of legal cannabis in Morocco, will define the operating procedures of the Cannabis Activities Regulatory Agency (ANRAC), whose broad prerogatives are granted to it by Law 13.21.

ANRAC is notably responsible for issuing authorizations to operators and drawing up specifications. The latter provides, among other things, storage conditions, environmental protection, and technical and transport standards. This agency’s mission is to follow the course of legal cannabis in Morocco at each of its stages (production, processing, manufacturing, marketing, export, and import) and to support operators while developing the cannabis sector.

Future operators in this sector eagerly await the operationalization of the agency. With the coming of legal cannabis in Morocco coming closer each day, they are ramping up preparations to launch their activities, which they have been anticipating since the adoption of the law on the legal uses of cannabis in June 2021. The publication of regulatory texts will only further accelerate their developments by giving the sector a definite timeframe in which to work.

Supplemental Regulations for Legal Cannabis in Morocco

Law 13.21, which establishes ANRAC, provides that specific provisions be supplemented by regulation. In particular, those relating to the conditions and procedures for the certification of seeds and seedlings (Article 8), models of the sales contract and delivery reports and destruction (article 10), the authorized tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels (articles 6 and 17), as well as the procedures for issuing authorizations (article 25) and the models and procedures for keeping registers of authorizations, stocks and various transactions relating to cannabis (section 45).

However, companies and investors are complaining that too many details regulating legal cannabis in Morocco will only blur things, introducing vagueness in the sector. They say this will harm those who have to comply with socio-economic and environmental regulations.

According to studies conducted by the Ministry of the Interior, the global market for legal cannabis in Morocco amounted to $13.8 million (according to 2018 data). Further estimates predict that market to hit $233 million by 2028.

The advantages for Legal Cannabis in Morocco

The head of the Ministry of the Interior, Abdelouafi Laftit, also believes that legal cannabis in Morocco has several competitive advantages. Namely, its proximity to the emerging European market, favorable natural and climatic conditions, attractiveness for foreign investment, and know-how inherited from traditional farmers.

According to estimates by the Ministry of the Interior, the number of farmers currently involved in illegal activity is estimated at 400,000 people, or nearly 60,000 families. However, following the introduction of legal cannabis in Morocco, it is hoped the latter shift towards the legal framework. Theoretically, this should help to free them from the grip of drug traffickers and offer them a legal financial and social situation.

Legal Cannabis Authorizations not Available to Everyone

Obtaining authorizations for the cultivation and production of legal cannabis in Morocco comes with several hurdles. First, it is not only necessary to carry out these activities in one of the authorized zones – Chefchaouen, Al Hoceima, and Taounate – but also to be of legal age, of Moroccan nationality, and a member of a cooperative created in accordance with law 112.12 relating to cooperatives.

These are all conditions that will allow the region and its inhabitants to benefit from investments, while placing them at the heart of the activity and protecting their economic interests.

Industrialists will not be allowed to cultivate nor, therefore, to produce. Instead, they will have to get their supplies from growers who organize into a cooperative. This cooperative organization aims to strengthen the bargaining power of small producers vis-à-vis industrialists.

This system that is being gradually put in place to regulate legal cannabis in Morocco is primarily centered on a social objective: that of the small farmer. The other two priorities are the environment and investments.

(Featured image by Kindel Media via Pexels)

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