Morocco issues first permits for cannabis production


FILE PHOTO: A farmer tends to dried cannabis bundle in Ketama, in the northern Rif mountains, Morocco March 12, 2021. Picture taken March 12, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

RABAT (Reuters) - A Moroccan state agency has issued the first 10 permits for the use of cannabis in industry and medicine and for export, it said, the result of a law passed last year.

Farmers who organise into cooperatives in the northern mountain areas of Al Houceima, Taounat and Chefchaouen will be gradually allowed to grow cannabis to meet the needs of the legal market, the agency said.

Cannabis is already widely cultivated in Morocco illegally and the new law, passed by the parliament last year, does not permit its use for recreation.

The law is intended to improve farmers' incomes and protect them from drug traffickers who control the cannabis trade and export it illegally to Europe.

(Reporting by Ahmed El Jechtimi, Writing by Angus McDowall, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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