According to the United Nations, Morocco may be the world’s first haschich producer and exporter.
The first cannabis plantations in Morocco are traced between the VIIth and the XVth centuries. Chances are that it was introduced there by the Arabs, after they invaded Northern Africa. During the XIXth century, the sultan Moulay Hassan authorized cannabis farming in restricted areas. This policy was maintained during the era of the Spanish protectorate, and then for economic reasons, under Mohamed V’s reign. After Morocco became independent in 1956, he continued to tolerate this culture.
Since the 60’s, cannabis growing consistently developed, especially in the poor mountainous areas of the Rif. In 1980, because of the economic crisis that was happening in Morocco, the hashish market exploded, becoming the main monetary income for many Moroccans.
Still nowadays, this business represents 2% of the national agricultural GDP and provides incomes for more than 800,000 Moroccans, roughly 2% of the population.
The area used for Cannabis agriculture was about a hundred hectares at the beginning of the 60’s. It got 50,000 hectares larger 20 years later. It got 100,000 hectares more in the 1990’s. The harvest was estimated to be about 30,000 tons per year in 2000, which represents about 70% of world’s production.