Morocco Remains Foremost Supplier of Marijuana to Europe
Despite crop substitution plans and offers of financial aid to stop, Morocco remains the top supplier of marijuana to European countries (Marlise Simons, "Signs in Wind of Morocco Drug Crop," New York Times, June 18, 1995, p. 4).
Air quality scientists in southern Spain report higher than normal marijuana pollen counts in the wind drifting across the Mediterranean, suggesting a record Moroccan harvest this year. Most of the Moroccan marijuana harvest is converted to hashish, which is transported to Europe through Spain. Morocco's hashish production is estimated at 1,500 tons per year, with a market value of $2 billion.
European officials have made many attempts to negotiate with Moroccan leaders about curbing the drug trade. In 1992, King Hassan II announced a marijuana eradication plan, but little came of it. Some European leaders may not want to push the King, as he may be a useful ally as Morocco's neighbor Algeria becomes increasingly unstable.
Morocco has reportedly told European nations that economic aid must be forthcoming if they are to crack down on marijuana growing. Morocco is reluctant to curtail growing a crop that appears to be gaining more acceptance in Western Europe.