Cannabis cultivation is booming
in Morocco, and European consumers are to blame, said Antonio Maria Costa,
head of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as the international
anti-drug agency issued a report Monday showing nearly 350,000 acres under
production in the North African country this year. That crop is providing
incomes for nearly 100,000 peasant farms and 800,000 people, UNDOC reported
in its first Moroccan cannabis cultivation survey.
Morocco has long been famous
for its hashish, consumed primarily in Western Europe, and the UNDOC estimates
it will churn out more than 3,000 metric tons this year. In return,
Moroccans will harvest an estimated $215 million in hash profits (compared
to $12 billion for mostly European middlemen), or more than one-half of
1% of the country's Gross Domestic Product.
"In the past 20 years, cannabis
cultivation has spread from the traditional areas in the central Rif, where
it has been grown since the 15th century, to new areas," UNDOC reported.
But it wasn't applauding an economic success story.
Instead, Costa used the occasion
to decry the venerable crop. "Through its expansion, cannabis production
threatens the environment of the Rif," he said. "Cannabis risks corrupting
the social and economic structure and compromising any prospects of sustainable
development there." The Moroccan hash boom resulted from the "spectacular
expansion of drug consumption" in Europe since the 1970s, he added.
Costa praised the Moroccan government for cooperating with the UNODC --
it actually allowed the survey to take place. "Morocco has acted
with courage and exposed the extent of domestic cannabis cultivation.
But the question must be addressed blending demand and supply measures.
It is Europe's turn to focus especially on preventive measures, reducing
cannabis consumption among the youth," he urged. "Cannabis causes
most of the health damage of tobacco smoking," Costa bizarrely claimed.
"Its active components cause paranoia and cognitive impairment," he added
for good measure.
And provide half the income
of Morocco's cannabis growing families, according to the report.
to read the UNODC Illicit Crop Monitoring Program report, Morocco Cannabis
-- END --
Issue #316, 12/19/03
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Newsbrief: Georgia Deputy Kills Innocent Man in Highway Drug Stop |
Newsbrief: Campaign Watch -- Kucinich Says Legalize It |
Newsbrief: Morocco Cannabis Production Booming, UN Drug Office Reports |
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DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime |
Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions |
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