In May 2021 the Moroccan legislature approved the growing of cannabis for the purpose of medical, industrial and cosmetic usage by a vote of 119 to 48. In our country report on Morocco (read it here), we looked at the rules and regulations of growing legal cannabis, who was allowed to do it and where it was happening.
In order to sketch a broader picture for our clients, we did an interview with Omar Sefraoui of les Chanvrières Industrielles du Maroc. Omar, a long-time presence in the hemp growing business and now in cannabis, shared some thoughts with us about how things work in Morocco only a month or two after things got started.
Please tell us about your background.
I have growed industrial hemp in 2009. I participated to a ministerial commission in 2009 and also started my company Chanvrières Industrielles du Maroc. I am both a business man and a farmer as I also have the company HempSeed Morocco which develops Moroccan seeds.
How does the business structure of your company work?
Currently I am the sole shareholder in all my structures, but I plan to open up to investors soon.
What problems did you encounter at the beginning?
The subject of cannabis was taboo in Morocco. There was a lack of knowledge on the subject by the people around us.
Did you have any previous knowledge about agriculture or growing things?
I come from an agricultural family background. My family grows avocado, papaya, granadilla and other fruits.
Can you comment on the success of the project so far?
It is progressing well since the regulations in Morocco have come into force.
Most producers complain of unrealistic expectations from all those around them. Is this the case with you?
Yes. I have the same feeling when I see the market evolution and mostly in the industrial hemp industry
How do you see the future success of the company – for yourself, for Morocco and for the industry worldwide?
The hemp sector is booming globally and will continue to flourish as long as the innovation is there. For Morocco it is different because it is primarily a social issue and there is no clear policy on industrial hemp. But we are lobbying in order to set up an ecosystem around industrial hemp.
Did you encounter problems with the bureaucracy at the beginning?
Encountering problems with the bureaucracy is ongoing. We want to go to other regions where industrial hemp can grow (ed note – in Morocco growing hemp and cannabis are restricted to certain provinces, learn more in our country report).
Is there a growth in the understanding of what you do?
We don’t have a real start in our activities yet. The law came into force a month ago, so it is very recent.
Is the government listening to the comments?
Yes, they are listening, but they are also dealing with other emergencies.
Is enterprise encouraged by the government?
Absolutely yes, but not enough to make industrial hemp flourish in Morocco. We are working in order to show the interest in growing industrial hemp in Morocco and substitute hemp in several raw materials like plastic and textile.
The development of the industry is very important for the economic future of the country. To read more about how the business works in Morocco, read our country report here.