The minister presented the chapters of the bill, a project that will not only serve the pharmaceutical and clinical industry in the country, but also small farmers.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Interior Abdelouafi Laftit expressed today his satisfaction with the adoption of Bill 13.21 on the legal use of cannabis.
Laftit presented the bill to the Committee of the Interior, Territorial Communities, Housing, and City Policy at the House of Representatives, emphasizing its benefits for farmers.
He said the bill legalizing the use of cannabis will improve farmers’ income and will create “promising and stable job opportunities.”
In addition to the economic aspects behind the bill, the project also seeks to reduce the “negative repercussions” caused by the spread of illicit cultivation.
The bill will also help reduce the “disruptive effects” on the environment with regard to deforestation, including the burning of forests.
On March 11, Morocco adopted bill 13-21, becoming among the first African countries to permit the use of cannabis for medical and therapeutic purposes.
Morocco approved the bill after the country voted yes to remove cannabis from the list of the UN’s Schedule IV category of drugs, which have limited or no therapeutic use.
Morocco was the only member of the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotics Drugs (NCD) in the Middle East and North Africa to vote in favor of the move.
Other countries in the region, including Bahrain, Egypt, and Algeria, all voted no.
Explaining the bill’s parameters, the minister of interior said that its requirements are divided into nine chapters.
The first includes general provisions that clarify the different concepts that relate to the bill’s application.
It also includes an explanation of enacting a licensing system. This is a necessary condition for practicing the various activities within the framework of legal cannabis use, as represented in its cultivation, production, transformation, manufacturing, and marketing, among others.
The second chapter defines the territorial scope for practicing the activities mentioned in the first chapter.
Authorities will restrict licenses to cultivate and produce cannabis within the limits of the quantities necessary to meet needs for medical, industrial, and pharmaceutical purposes.
Industry professionals should meet all conditions to obtain the necessary license, taking into account the principle of “national preference.”
One of the conditions is to have Moroccan nationality.
Also among the conditions is involving licensed farmers to join cooperatives established for this specific purpose. They should be linked under contracts with companies that manufacture and convert cannabis, or licensed export companies to sell their cannabis products.
The third chapter stipulates the conditions for obtaining a license to establish and exploit cannabis nurseries, or a license to export or import cannabis seeds and seedlings.
The provision also prohibits the sale of the seeds and seedlings to persons not authorized to grow and produce cannabis.
The fourth chapter covers the terms and conditions for converting and manufacturing cannabis and its products.
The applicant for the license should fulfill all conditions, including the need to establish a company subject to Moroccan law.
Laftit explained that companies should have access to secured warehouses for storage, among other conditions.
Chapter five relates to the marketing, import, and export of medicinal and non-medical pharmaceutical products. Such substances are subject to the Medicines and Pharmacy Law 04-17.
The marketing, import, and export of other products are subject to licensing by the concerned competent agency.
Chapter six emphasizes the manner of granting or rejecting licenses, taking into account all requirements related to simplifying administrative steps.
Chapter seven, meanwhile, regards the creation of a governance and monitoring body. The National Agency for the Regulation of Activities related to Cannabis will represent the body as a public institution with legal and financial independence.
The body will work in coordination with governmental sectors and other institutions to carry out a set of tasks, including offering, renewing, and withdrawing licenses in accordance with the bill’s provisions.
The agency will also coordinate with government sectors to help frame advice designed for the public sector and professionals in the field.
The eighth chapter emphasizes the importance of monitoring, explaining that the agency should monitor the course of cannabis in all steps, including production, processing, import, export, and marketing.
The second mechanism in the agency’s work covers labeling and packaging products.
The minister concluded his presentation by saying Morocco has “real and promising opportunities” to develop medical, pharmaceutical, and industrial cannabis.