According to new data released by international analytics firm New Frontier Data, Morocco is Europe’s number one (illicit) cannabis supplier.
New Frontier Data shared a graphic showing that 62 percent of weed seized in Africa in 2016 came from Morocco. The visual also shows that security services seized a total of more than 900,000 kilograms of hashish between the years 2012 and 2016.
The firm’s data quoted a recent report that provided statistics on how European countries import cannabis from Morocco. This report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in 2019 stated that cannabis resin is imported mostly from Morocco.
The report also noted that Libya emerged as a major resin trafficking hub. Additionally, it pointed out that the proximity between Morocco and Europe makes the country a center for drug trafficking.
According to the report, when it comes to the amounts of cannabis resin seized, Spain plays a particularly important role, thanks to its proximity to Morocco. Spain accounted for 72 percent of the total quantity of cannabis seized in the European Union in 2017.
New Data Frontier also cited a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime confirming that Morocco remains to be the largest producer of cannabis in the world. This UNODC report further showed that Morocco produces over thrice more the quantity of cannabis than the second highest contender, Moldova.
The UNODC report added that cannabis production in Morocco continues to grow, with cannabis herbs production going up from 35,653 tons in 2016 to 35,703 tons in 2017.
New Frontier Data noted that the country’s broad production of cannabis is reflected in the amount of seizures and drug trafficking crackdowns. In July 2019, for example, Moroccan police confiscated a record 27.3 tons.
The country’s security services were also able to abort several drug trafficking operations within the year. In April, for instance, Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation got hold of seven tons of cannabis in Casablanca. And in March, 1.675 tons of cannabis resin were seized by authorities in Fez. The police also confiscated 13 tons and 750 kilograms of hashish at the Tangier Med Port.
The Moroccan government announced in 2018 that it is implementing a multi-dimensional strategy to fight illegal drugs across the country. They said that they are determined to place civil society in the forefront of this strategy.
According to Mustapha El Khalfi, the spokesperson for the Moroccan government, they prosecuted 107,000 people in 2017 for drug-related cases. This number is an increase from the 36,000 cases they prosecute each year in the previous decade.
A 2018 International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) report showed that hash is the most common drug seized by authorities in Africa. This report also showed that in 2017, 117 tons of cannabis resin and 283 tons of cannabis were seized in Morocco.