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North Africa

Spain and Morocco in heavy crackdown on hashish networks

Posted on March 1st, 2018 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

MoroccoOver the past weeks, authorities in Morocco and Spain have unleashed sweeps against hashish smuggling networks, arresting hundreds. One ring was reportedly using Serbian ex-military helicopter pilots to ferry product across the Strait of Gibraltar. This heightened militarization is disappointing, as a legalization initiative in Morocco—the world's top cannabis producer—fell victim to political unrest and intrigues last year.

Hashish traffic at issue in Morocco-Algeria tensions

Posted on December 16th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

MoroccoIn the cold war between North African neighbors Morocco and Algeria, the latter has long used the status of the former as the world's top cannabis producer for propaganda, painting the conservative kingdom as a drug menace to the greater region. Now the narco-baiting has exploded into a diplomatic flare-up. Morocco World News reports that the kingdom's national airline, Royal Air Maroc, is preparing legal action against Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel after he publicly insinuated that it is smuggling hashish.

Morocco: political blow to cannabis legalization effort

Posted on August 24th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

MoroccoMorocco has long been the world's leading cannabis producer, but the conservative monarchy has managed to keep any talk of legalization out of political discourse—until last year, when the country's biggest opposition party submitted a bill in parliament to at least allow cultivation for medicinal and industrial purposes. Now that effort has been dealt a setback, with the unexpected resignation of Ilyas El-Omari as head of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM).

North Africa hashish trade booms —despite vigorous crackdown

Posted on February 28th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

North AfricaCountries both sides of the Mediterranean are stepping up joint operations against hashish flowing into Europe from North Africa. Spanish authorities on Feb. 17 boasted the dismantling of two smuggling networks that were bringing Moroccan hashish into the port of Málaga. In a two-day operation, Spain's Civil Guard arrested 50 people and confiscated a helicopter, cars, boats, cash and weapons, as well as 3.7 metric tons of hashish. Moroccan authorities cooperated in the investigation, according to a report on Morocco World News.

Morocco: push for (partial) legalization in 2016

Posted on July 13th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

North AfricaAccording to the latest World Drug Report (PDF) released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Morocco remains the planet's top producer of "cannabis resin" (hashish), followed by Afghanistan, Lebanon, India and Pakistan. Massive seizures continue to be regularly reported. As this month opened, security forces announced confiscation of over 4,000 tons of "cannabis" (probably hashish rather than unprocessed herb) at El Guergarat crossing on the border with Mauritania. (Moroccan news accounts did not mention that this is actually not in Morocco but in the Moroccan-occupied territory of Western Sahara.) The stash was hidden in a truck headed across the border; the driver was arrested and an investigation opened into a possible trafficking network linking Morocco to exit ports in West Africa.

Spanish police can't break Moroccan connection

Posted on January 28th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

SpainOperation TELOS, an effort by Spain's Guardia Civil to halt the flow of Moroccan hashish into the Iberian peninsula, is now in its thrid year—but ongoing busts only testify to the ingenuity and resources of the smugglers. On Jan. 13, the Guardia announced that they'd broken up a ring that brought the stuff into Spain's southern province of Cadiz using a fleet of pleasure boats with false bottoms, arresting 17 people and seizing five of the boats along with 4.5 ton of hash. The arrests were made in a series of raids over the past months. The nationality of those arrested was not specified. 

Tunisia Pirate Party adopts cannabis leaf logo

Posted on December 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

North AfricaTunisia, the first country to rise up and throw off its long dictatorship when revolution began to sweep the Arab world in 2011, is seen as the success story of the Arab Spring. With a new secular constitution, progressive forces have prevailed peacefully over an Islamist backlash. Rappers and feminist artists have become icons of the revolution. Now, Green Rush Daily reports that the Pirate Party of Tunisia has chosen to use the marijuana leaf as its identifying logo on the country’s ballot. It cites a write-up in Pirate Times, international organ of the movement, that "the Pirate Party of Tunisia has decided to participate in the next elections by highlighting the hemp symbol on its lists, which will attract the voters of those who support this cause."

'Narco-jihadist' threat seen in North Africa

Posted on July 17th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

North AfricaWith ISIS in control of a chunk of Libya and Tunisia militarizing after a deadly terrorist attack, an article appears in the United Arab Emirates' The National warning of a "narco-jihadist" threat in North Africa. The commentary by Abdelkader Cheref, a professor at the State University of New York, warns that "huge quantities of Moroccan hashish transit through the Sahara where so-called narco-jihadists, who control a triangle of no-man's land between northern Mali and Niger, eastern Mauritania, southern Algeria and Libya, smuggle the shipments to Europe. There are mounting concerns regarding the links between Moroccan drug barons and narco-jihadists linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa."

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