Moroccan hashish as an example of a cannabis terroir product
Chargé de recherche au CNRS (Prodig)
CNRS Research Fellow (Prodig)
This article aims at clarifying the concepts of terroir and landrace in the context of cannabis cultivation and hashish production. Taking the Rif region of Morocco as a case study, it shows in particular how and why both terroir and landrace come from the territory they belong to as much as they characterize it. This article raises the question of the existence, future, and development of a cannabis terroir, based on precise and operational definitions of the concepts of terroir and landrace, considered locally in historical, geographical, and cultural terms. Raising the question of a cannabis terroir in Morocco implies considering the Moroccan history of cannabis and its end products, and, as a consequence, the related issues of tradition, autochthony (and allochthony), authenticity, and finally legitimacy (and even legality): all concepts required to address the controversial and even polemical issue of cannabis production in the Rif region. This article concludes that the existence and conservation of a hashish terroir can benefit the Rif region in multiple ways: by improving the image and reputation of Moroccan hashish, by increasing its market value, and by benefiting the local, regional, and national economy. Yet, identifying a cannabis terroir also implies to acknowledge its historical, geographical, cultural, and environmental components in order to protect them. Therefore, identifying and promoting a terroir can prove beneficial economically, environmentally, and culturally as it implies conservation policies and actions that can benefit the balance and stability of a given region, in this case the Rif region of Morocco.
Morocco, Rif, cannabis, hashish, terroir, landrace