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05RABAT2468 2005-12-11 17:28:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Rabat
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1. Morocco continues to be a major producer and exporter of
cannabis. It produced an estimated 98,000 metric tons of
cannabis in 2004, providing for potential cannabis resin
(hashish) production of 2,760 metric tons, according to the
second joint study on cannabis released in May 2005 by the
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and
Morocco's Agency for the Promotion and the Economic and
Social Development of the Northern Prefectures and Provinces
of the Kingdom (APDN). As of December 2005, the government
of Morocco (GOM) was in the process of completing its 2005
study on cannabis production. Available information
continues to indicate the United States is not a major
recipient of drugs from Morocco. According to the UNODC
report, Morocco in 2004 succeeded in decreasing by 10 percent
its land dedicated to cannabis cultivation to 120,500
hectares, down from 134,000 hectares in 2003. The UNODC study
also states that approximately 800,000 Moroccans (2.5 percent
of the country's estimated 2004 population) were involved in
cannabis cultivation. Morocco's efforts to combat cannabis
cultivation are made more difficult by limited short-term
financial alternatives for those involved in its production.
Morocco is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

2. Morocco consistently ranks among the world's largest
producers and exporters of cannabis, and its cultivation and
sale provide the economic base for much of the mountainous
northern region of Morocco. Only very small amounts of
narcotics produced in or transiting through Morocco reach the
United States. According to the UNODC report, the illicit
trade in Moroccan cannabis resin generates approximately $13
billion a year. The narcotics trade remains a large source of
hard currency. Independent estimates indicate that the
returns from cannabis cultivation range from $16,400-$29,800
per hectare (little of which goes to the growers themselves),
compared with an average of $1,000 per hectare for one
possible alternative, corn.

3. According to EU law enforcement officials, Moroccan
cannabis is typically processed into cannabis resin or oil
and exported to Europe, Algeria, and Tunisia. To date,
Morocco has no enterprises that use dual-use precursor
chemicals, and is thus neither a source nor transit point for
them. While there has been a small but growing domestic
market for harder drugs like heroin and cocaine, cannabis
remains the most widely used illicit drug in Morocco.
Although there is no substantial evidence of widespread
trafficking in heroin or cocaine, press reports suggest Latin
American cocaine traffickers may have started using
well-established cannabis smuggling routes to move cocaine
into Europe.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs

4. Policy Initiatives: The GOM's partnership with UNODC in
conducting the 2004 and 2003 cannabis surveys reflects
Morocco's desire to compile accurate data about narcotics
production and address its narcotics problem. In 2004
Morocco also launched an awareness campaign for cannabis
growers alerting them to the adverse effects of cannabis
cultivation for the land and informing them of alternative
ways to use the land more productively.

5. Throughout the 1980,s, the GOM worked in conjunction
with the UN to devise a response to the unique geographic,
cultural and economic circumstances that confront the many
people involved in the cultivation of cannabis in northern
Morocco. Joint projects to encourage cultivation of
alternative agricultural products included providing goats
for dairy farming, apple trees, and small bee-keeping
initiatives. This effort also included paved roads, modern
irrigation networks, and health and veterinary clinics. In
the 1990,s, the GOM continued to focus on development

alternatives in Morocco's northern provinces through the work
of APDN and the Tangier Mediterranean Special Agency (TMSA).
In June 2003, TMSA oversaw the groundbreaking of the
centerpiece of its northern development program, the
Tanger-MED port, which is set to become Morocco's primary
maritime gateway to the world. To study the viability of
medicinal plant substitution the GOM selected Taounate as the
site for the construction of the National Institute of
Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (INPMA).

6. Accomplishments: Morocco and France agreed in 2004 to
reinforce bilateral counternarcotics cooperation by deploying
liaison officers to Tangiers and France. During this past
year, according to both Moroccan and French police sources,
their use of controlled deliveries of drugs has proven to be
a very successful interdiction technique. The GOM in 2005
destroyed more than 7,000 hectares of cannabis, primarily in
Larache and Taounate Provinces, and plans to destroy
10,000-25,000 hectares of land cultivated with cannabis
during next year's eradication campaign. The Ministry of
Interior is also in the final stages of launching a website
that will provide the public with information on the
government's counternarcotics efforts. Morocco has laws
providing a maximum allowable prison sentence for drug
offenses of 30 years, as well as fines for narcotics
violations ranging from $20,000-$80,000. Ten years'
imprisonment remains the typical sentence for major drug
traffickers convicted in Morocco.

7. Law Enforcement Efforts: According to government
statistics, Morocco in 2004 seized 318 tons of cannabis,
representing a 361 percent increase over the 69 tons seized
the previous year. During the same period seizures were also
up for cocaine, heroin, and psychoactive drugs. Morocco
claims to have arrested 22,526 Moroccan nationals and 356
foreigners in connection with drug-related offenses in 2004.

8. As part of a 1992 counternarcotics initiative, an
estimated 10,000 police were detailed to drug interdiction
efforts in the North and Rif mountains in 1995. Since then,
approximately every six months, the GOM has rotated personnel
into this region and continued to maintain narcotics
checkpoints. Moroccan forces also staff observation posts
along the Mediterranean coast, and the Moroccan Navy carries
out routine sea patrols and responds to information developed
by the observation posts. These efforts, however, have not
changed the underlying reality of extensive cannabis
cultivation and trafficking in northern Morocco.

9. Corruption: The GOM does not promote drug production or
trafficking as a matter of policy, and it contests
accusations that government officials in the northern
territories are involved in the drug trade. According to
Moroccan press reports, the Rabat Court of Appeal in April
issued prison sentences ranging from 1 to 10 years to members
of a drug trafficking ring, including 25 policemen and 7
gendarmes who were given one-year sentences for corruption.

10. Agreements and Treaties: Although the U.S. and Morocco
do not have an extradition treaty, cooperation in judicial
matters is accomplished through a Mutual Legal Assistance
Treaty. Morocco is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention,
the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the
1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by
the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention. Morocco is
a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized

11. Cultivation/Production: The center of cannabis
production continues to be the province of Chefchaouen,
although production has expanded north in the last two
decades to the outskirts of Tangiers, west to the coastal
city of Larache, and east toward Al Hoceima. According to
the UNODC report, small farmers in the northern Rif region
grow mostly cannabis, where an estimated 27 percent of arable
land is dedicated to its cultivation. Production also occurs
on a smaller scale in the Souss valley in the south. The
UNODC survey found that 75 percent of villages and 96,000

farms in the Rif region cultivate cannabis, representing 6.5
percent of all farms in Morocco.

12. The GOM has stated its commitment to the total
eradication of cannabis production, but given the economic
and historical dependence on cannabis in the northern region,
eradication is only feasible if accompanied by a well
designed development strategy involving reform of local
government and a highly subsidized crop substitution program.
Moroccan drug officials have indicated that crop
substitution programs thus far appear to have made little
headway in providing economic alternatives to cannabis
production. The amount of cannabis production measured in
2004 suggests that the crop's cultivation has seen a steady
increase over the past few years, to the detriment of other
agricultural activities. The UNODC report warned that this
agricultural monoculture represents an extreme danger to the
ecosystem, as the extensive use of fertilizers and forest
removal continues to be the methods of choice to make room
for cannabis cultivation.

13. Drug Flow/Transit: The primary ports of export for
Moroccan cannabis are Oued Lalou, Martil and Bou Ahmed on the
Mediterranean coast. Most large shipments bound for Spain
travel via fishing vessels or private yachts. Shipments of
up to two tons increasingly are being confiscated on smaller
"zodiac" speedboats that reportedly can make roundtrips to
Spain in one hour. Smugglers also continue to transport
cannabis via truck and car through the Spanish enclaves of
Ceuta and Melilla, and the Moroccan port of Tangiers,
crossing the Straits of Gibraltar by ferry. According to the
UNODC, Spain still accounts for the world's largest portion
of cannabis resin seizures (57 percent of global seizures and
75 percent of European seizures in 2001). The Moroccan press
reported that some 800 tons of Moroccan cannabis resin were
seized in Spain in 2004. Given its proximity to Morocco,
Spain is a key transfer point for Europe-bound Moroccan
cannabis resin.

14. Domestic Programs: The GOM is concerned about signs of
an increase in domestic heroin and cocaine use, but does not
aggressively promote reduction in domestic demand for these
drugs or for cannabis. It has established a program to train
the staffs of psychiatric hospitals in the treatment of drug
addiction. In partnership with UNODC, the Ministry of Health
is exploring the relationship between drug use and HIV/AIDS
infection in Morocco. Moroccan civil society and some
schools are active in promoting counternarcotics use

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

15. U.S. Policy Initiatives: U.S. policy goals in Morocco
are to enhance Morocco's counter narcotics capability through
training in law enforcement techniques and to promote the
GOM's adherence to its obligations under relevant bilateral
and international agreements. U.S.-supported efforts to
strengthen anti-money-laundering laws and efforts against
terrorist financing may also contribute to the GOM,s ability
to monitor the flow of money from the cannabis trade.

16. Bilateral Cooperation: According to Moroccan narcotics
officials, USG-provided border security equipment,
particularly new scanners in main ports, improved the
effectiveness of security measures at entry points, which
directly contributed to increased drug seizures in 2004.
Morocco and the U.S. have also begun to expand cooperation on
drug investigations of mutual interest. The Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA), which covers Morocco from its Paris
office, has enhanced its engagement with the Moroccan
National Police, including discussing ways to increase
training visits to the US by Moroccan narcotics officials and
by US officials to Morocco. DEA officials conducted three
trips to Morocco in the 2005. During the December 2005
visit, U.S. and Moroccan officials discussed ways in which
the two governments can further their mutual cooperation.

17. Road Ahead The United States will continue to monitor

the narcotics situation in Morocco, cooperate with the GOM in
its counternarcotics efforts, and, together with the EU,
provide law enforcement training, intelligence, and other
support where possible.