Morocco evaluates the business opportunity of exporting cannabis

The Minister of Interior presented a feasibility report on the business of cannabis for medical, cosmestic and industrial use. The first projected market would be Europe and could be more profitable than illegal production for farmers with a 46% increase of revenue.

On May 4, the Minister of Interior, Abdelouafi Laftit, presented a feasibility report detailing the business opportunity of legal cannabis to the House of representatives. The Moroccan government has indeed proposed a law in which the plant could be used for therapeutic, cosmetic or industrial uses.

The cannabis as a therapeutic use is a market with a 60% annual growth in Europe. It could expand from a market value of 564 million euros today to 58 billion euros in 2028.

The first projected market for Morocco’s medical products would be Europe because of its consumption potential and its acccessibility. The U.S. forbid international commerce of cannabis products. Exports to Spain, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom and Germany could bring 25 billion dollars every year in 2028, 43% of their projected export revenue. France and Italy have the potential to generate 17 billion dollars, or 29% of the revenue in 2028, but cannabis is not legal is these two countries.

The country has the logistic infrastructure, the climate conditions, and technical know-how to invest the market of a plant it has been producing for decades.

Cannabis in Morocco could soon be produced and exported for therapeutic use
Cannabis field in the Rif mountains where most of the cannabis in Morocco is produced | Rogelio A. Galaviz C.

Morocco, the largest worldwide hashish producer

Morocco is the largest producer of hashish in the world, the compressed form of cannabis. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the country produces 700 metric tons of cannabis every year, for a value of 23 billion dollars (19 billion euros). According to the Kingdom, 55 000 ha were cultivated in 2019, which is larger area than small countries like Malta or Andorra. Yet, the lands dedicated to cannabis shrank in the last 20 years with a rebound in the past few years. In 2003, the UNODC evaluated the cannabis production to 47,000 metric tons over 134,000 hectares. In 2014, the government said it was reduced to 47,000 ha of cultivated lands for cannabis, with the unsuccessful ambition to bring it down to 30,000 ha.

The business of cannabis could increase the revenue of the farmers who cultivate it illegally. Today, one hectare of cannabis can bring up to 75,000 dirhams a year (7,000 euros). As the cannabis becomes decriminalized for therapeutic use in more countries, therapeutic cannabis could yield 110 000 dirhams (10,000 euros or 12,000 USD) for each ha every year. It is a potential 46% increase of revenue for the farmers.

With its project of depenalizing cannabis, the government aims to convert the lands into legal crops used for medicine, clothes or cosmetics. It also hopes it would reduce the various risks associated with smuggling and smoking the plant.

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