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Morocco: Bill to legalise cannabis enters into force

Two hydroponic cannabis plants [Plantlady223/Wikipedia]
Two hydroponic cannabis plants [Plantlady223/Wikipedia]

Bill 13.21, the bill to legalise the use of cannabis, came into force on Friday in Morocco after it was published in the Official Gazette.

Last May, the Moroccan House of Representatives (the first chamber of Parliament) approved a bill legalising the use of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes in the country.

The bill was supported by 119 deputies belonging to majority blocs and the opposition, while 48 members of the Justice and Development Party (leader of the government coalition) rejected it.

After the voting session, the project was referred to the House of Councillors (the upper chamber of Parliament) to finish the remaining approval procedures, and then the bill was published in the Official Gazette to enter into force immediately.

In early April, the government referred the draft bill to Parliament after approving it on 11 March.

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The government's approval of the bill was delayed by two weeks due to the controversy sparked by the project in political and popular circles and on social media platforms.

According to the introductory note of the draft bill, the Moroccan authorities aspire to attract: "Global investment via companies specialised in the legal uses of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes."

The note explained: "The development of legal cannabis cultivation will improve farmers' income, protect them from international drug smuggling networks, and attract global investments, with the aim of benefiting from the international market revenues for this plant."

The bill stipulates: "All activities related to cannabis and its products shall be subject to a licensing mechanism," while paving the way for: "Establishing a national agency entrusted to develop an agricultural and industrial supply chain of cannabis, in coordination with all government sectors and national and international partners." In addition, the bill provides for the enforcement of penalties against farmers who violate regulations.

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