Cannabis cultivation in Morocco (2013)

Cannabis cultivation (kif and hybrids) in Morocco (2013)

© 2013 Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy – All Rights Reserved

ENG: Photos of cannabis cultivation (kif and hybrids) in the Rif , Morocco.

FR: Photos de la culture du cannabis (kif et hybrides) dans le Rif , Maroc.

A simple drive through the Rif region of Morocco, where all the cannabis is cultivated, confirms that cannabis cultivation has largely declined in the past few years. The cannabis-covered valleys and hillsides reveal that the traditional Kif variety is being quickly replaced by modern hybrids.

This gives sense to the fact that the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of the hashish seized in Europe has been increasing in various European countries for years now. In less than a decade, Morocco reportedly saw cannabis cultivation decrease by 65 percent from an all-time high of 134,000 hectares in 2003, to 47,500 hectares in 2011.

Yet, Moroccan production is very unlikely to have followed the same downward trend, despite officials’ claims that it declined by 75 percent between 2003 and 2011, from 3,080 metric tons to 760 metric tons. In fact, counter narcotics police services in Europe estimate — based on yearly seizures ­ — that production is closer to 2,500 metric tons.

Visits to cannabis fields and interviews with cannabis cultivators in the Rif in 2013 revealed that the Kif landrace is being increasingly replaced by new cannabis varieties. In 2013, the Khardala variety was the most widespread of the10 new varieties mentioned by Moroccan cannabis cultivators.

Cannabis cultivation has undoubtedly declined in Morocco, but hashish production levels may well have been maintained since, according to various cultivators, the new hybrids cultivated in Morocco yield three to five times more hashish than Kif.

More in: Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy & Kenza Afsahi, 2014, Hashish Revival in Morocco, International Journal of Drug Policy, Vol. 25, Issue 3, pp. 416-423.

© 2013 Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy – All Rights Reserved