Rabat – After several amendments, Morocco’s House of Councilors has approved the hotly-debated bill on the limited legalization of cannabis.

Reports Morocco World News

Morocco’s Parliament put Bill No. 13.21, concerning the commercialization and legal uses of cannabis, up for vote during today’s governmental plenary session. It passed by a majority vote, with 41 advisers voting for and 11 voting against.

The bill aims to improve Moroccan farmers’ income as well as to give rise to “promising and sustainable” job opportunities in the country’s rural regions.

Interior Minister Abdel-Wafi Laftit, who introduced the draft bill at the session, underlined that the main goal of the bill is to improve cannabis farmers’ quality of life and general wellbeing. Laftit noted that most of the farmers live in inadequate conditions, subject to continuous deterioration in part due to sharp drop in the price of illegal cannabis in Morocco. The suggestion is that the legalisation of cannabis cultivation could both double the farmers’ income and help in protecting their rights.

Laftit argued that injunctive action as part of the global drug control — rather than promoting solutions — has actually been detrimental to alternative developmental programs that could solve the economic, social, and environmental problems that cannabis-producing Global South countries actually face.

The minister explained that the Moroccan Ministry of Interior has conducted studies which have highlighted the catastrophic effects of illegal cannabis cultivation on the health of Moroccan citizens, but also on the country’s levels of soil pollution and erosion.

Laftit pointed out that the legalization of cannabis cultivation would have a positive effect both on the national economy and local development. Furthermore, the ministry’s studies showed that Morocco has the required potential to take advantage of the global demand for cannabis

The minister also stressed that any delay of legalisation, development, and mobilisation of the sector will hinder Morocco’s chances of establishing its share in the global cannabis market. In this context, Laftit called on all levels of society — the parliament, government, NGOs and civil society — to participate in efforts to establish the legalization of cannabis as a positive step in the direction of sustainable development, especially for the regions where most of the cultivation happens.Under Bill No. 13.21, personal, non-medicinal use of cannabis will still remain prohibited.