Many travelers easily associate Morocco with hashish, but although hashish production in the country dates back several centuries, it is only since after the early 1970s that Morocco has become known worldwide for it.
In fact, before the arrival of the hippies, most cannabis production in Morocco was intended to meet the domestic demand for Hashish, a famous local product , Kif , began as a light drug made from hash, pieces of cannabis leaves and flowers. Today, an estimated one-third to nearly half of the amount of hashish sold in the world is produced in the country. Although this article is in no way intended to promote illegal activities, it is a fact that many travelers use hashish on their trips to Morocco, and it is important to be informed about some of the issues around hashish and Hashish.
In the early 1960s-70s, “alternative” Westerners, from Europe and North America, visited Morocco as a tourist destination, enjoying quality hashish when they found some available. This led to a trend that increased cannabis cultivation and hashish production in the Rif region. This in turn prompted the Moroccan government to try, unsuccessfully, to stifle the business by attempting to eliminate growers in the area.
Although it was made illegal there, Morocco dominated hashish production and export from the 1980s until 2010, when it was supplanted by Afghanistan in the total hashish production category.
HASHISH IN THE REF: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ON CANNABIS PRODUCTION IN MOROCCO
Hashish is widely consumed by Moroccans, particularly since the Spanish conquerors began encouraging its cultivation in an attempt to keep the peace. Today, most of the production is concentrated in the Rif Mountains, which stretch from the Mediterranean Sea to the port city of Tangier.
This area is populated by traditional Berber tribes, and is among the poorest regions in Morocco because of poor relations between the tribes and the central government. The drug industry thus provides a necessary economic base for the poor Hashish people, who depend on the production of the substance for their livelihoods. This partly explains why attempts by the government to stop this illicit activity have been unsuccessful.
On the other hand, this multi-million-dollar production has continued to grow, given the high demand for the quality cannabis produced and prepared in Morocco: most people consider it to be the most profitable industry (and export) in the country, which means that there are many nuances and “dark” elements among these mountains.
IS IT LEGAL?
Any activity revolving around Hashish is considered illegal in Morocco. It is illegal to grow cannabis, produce it, sell it, and smoke it, with various penalties depending on the amount and the area you are in.
Many Moroccan cities are Hashish-friendly, however, and it is generally safe to buy and consume hashish, although often the sellers are actually informants for law enforcement.
The penalty for being caught in the act of buying or smoking Hashish can be up to 10 years imprisonment, but foreign tourists can generally get away with a fine (which can also prove quite steep).
ACQUISTARE HASHISH IN MAROCCO
The city of Chefchaouen, in the Rif mountains, is considered a free port for travelers in search of Hashish. Indeed, its proximity to the epicenter of cannabis production makes it very easy to find the substance.
In other parts of the Rif, it is best to be cautious, as the mountainous areas of Morocco are less populated and occupied by law enforcement and the military.
Even in Marrakech and Fez, two of Morocco’s most touristy cities, it is easy to find some Hashish: usually sellers wait until evening and hang around in the busiest places and most touristy destinations (such as Jeema el-Fnaa Square) asking tourists if they wish to buy it. These “transactions’’ are illegal, however, although the police often turn a blind eye. Haggling over price is generally accepted.
It is good to keep in mind that if you do not intend to buy anything, simply stand your ground and firmly decline the offer.
FUMARE HASHISH IN MAROCCO
Smoking Hashish is considered normal in Morocco, especially among men. It is often consumed in papers or by means of a typical pipe. In most Moroccan cities you can find small cafes where local men are used to play cards, drink tea and smoke.
This -for men- is a good place to smoke, always if accompanied by a local. Guesthouses and hostels are also fairly safe places to smoke, especially in Chefchaouen.
As a general rule, it is preferable not to smoke while walking through the city streets or in a public place, as you will attract attention.
NB: It is always good to keep in mind that buying and consuming cannabis products in Morocco is considered illegal, and is not recommended for travelers.