Morocco: Industrialization of cannabis production, boon for other industries
The North African country last month joined the group of countries which decriminalized the growing of cannabis. 119 lawmakers approved the move which has been in the pipeline for more than a decade. Only 48 voted against the proposal tabled by the government.
Per the new law, which will come into effect after publication in the national gazette, cannabis will be grown for “medical, cosmetic and industrial” purposes.
The new law targets the production of fiber hemp containing near zero percentage of Tetrahydrocannabino (THC).
A research commission, made up of the National Institute for Agricultural Research, the Royal Gendarmerie and a number of services from the ministries of health and industry, undertook a research in 2009 on varieties of THC-free cannabis, in several regions of the kingdom [Agadir, Sefrou, Tadla and Sidi Allal Tazi], Omar Sefrioui, a manager of a private firm that took part in the research told the news outlet.
The commission, following a set of researches and tests, launched pilot projects using the fiber hemp in several sectors including construction, plastic, paper, food and textile.
“In 2014, we built 14 hemp concrete as part of OCP’s program in the city of Benguerir,” said Sefrioui on the sidelines of a recent seminar organized on the fiber hemp.
Fiber hemp concrete is a mixture of lime with chenevotte; hemp shives. The concrete has multiple advantages, including great lightness, and meets requirements of thermal regulations.
Fiber hemp, in addition to various advantages, generates sizeable monetary benefits for peasants producing it.
Thanks to the new law, the farmers can increase many folds their revenues, up to MAD18,000 ($2,031) per hectare in only two months instead of MAD9,000 generated from the annual production of potatoes.
The kingdom is one of the world leading producers of cannabis. Prohibition Partners, a UK-based consultancy firm that provides information on the global cannabis industry, has estimated that the revenue generated by the legal market will reach $900m by 2023, The Africa Report notes, adding that according to other organizations, the revenue generated by the legal market would bring Morocco $11.8bn (€10bn) per year.