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Morocco to set up agency to regulate cannabis cultivation

EDIRNE, TURKEY - FEBRUARY 11: 2.07 tons of marijuana seized during an anti-drug operation by the customs officials at the Kapikule customs gate, in Edirne, Turkey on February 11, 2020. The drug was seized from a lorry which was stopped at the border crossing. ( Gökhan Balcı - Anadolu Agency )

Morocco has reportedly established a regulatory agency to oversee the country's cannabis cultivation for medical use.

The decision was the outcome of a meeting on Thursday under the chairmanship of Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit and involved the board of directors of the National Agency for the Regulation of Cannabis Activities (ANRAC) who approved the body's organisational structure and budget for this year.

According to Africa News, the agency will be tasked with controlling all stages of the production chain, from the importation of seeds and the certification of plants, to the marketing of medicinal cannabis products.

The agency will also set up the first processing and manufacturing cooperatives, composed exclusively of local growers.

In March, the Moroccan government legalised the growing of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes in three northern provinces, namely Al-Hoceima, Chefchaouen and Taounate which are located in the mountainous Rif region.

Other provinces could be added "depending on the interest shown by national and international investors in activities linked to the cannabis production chain,"according to the Ministry of the Interior.

In July of last year, Morocco passed a legislation legalising the production and export of cannabis, however legal restrictions are undermining the competitiveness of the industry. Despite this, Morocco is the world's leading producer of illicit cannabis.

According to Morocco World News, the kingdom's evolving semi-progressive cannabis industry offers hundreds of new jobs and tax revenues for the treasury, but faces tight restrictions which has hindered Moroccan companies from exporting to international markets where medical-grade cannabis is in high demand such as Germany and Israel.

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