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Cannabis in Algeria

Both the cultivation of cannabis for therapeutic and recreational purposes is strictly prohibited in Algeria and penalties carry a jail sentence

It is true that cannabis is illegal in Algeria. Its possession, cultivation, consumption and sale are illegal. However, it is a country that traffics a lot, especially with hashish from Morocco, since the borders are very little controlled.

Therefore, it is easy to find and buy cannabis in Algeria. But you should know that if you are arrested, it is almost certain that you will end up in prison.

For many centuries the plant of cannabis sativa has been cultivated in this country of the Maghreb. However, starting in 1990, it began to be an illegal product that was sold clandestinely in the back of the stores of the street markets (souks).

With French colonization restrictions were placed on the use, sale and production of cannabis. There are still taboos about marijuana today but public opinion is slowly beginning to change. It is usually trafficked with large quantities of Moroccan hashish continuously through Algeria on its way to Europe. The scarce political relations between Algeria and Morocco make it difficult for the two countries to confront drug trafficking.

In fact, as happened in Egypt, it was the French in their process of colonization, who began to prohibit the consumption, cultivation and sale of cannabis in Algeria.

Although the public opinion towards cannabis remains mostly negative, the truth is that, thanks to the process of legalization in countries such as the United States or Canada, countries “hated” by the public but admired in the depths of society. The mentality of young people is changing and becoming more open. Of course, within the limits set by religion; Islam and cannabis are not good friends.

Although cannabis use has increased in recent years, it remains a low level of consumption. Those arrested for cannabis issues face harsh penalties. People who are arrested for consumption or a small possession of cannabis face penalties ranging from 6 months to 2 years.

The trafficking and sale of cannabis are punishable by penalties ranging from ten to twenty years in prison. Although the government is concerned about illegal smuggling, due to its border instability, they are also concerned about the harm that cannabis can cause among young people in Algeria. Therefore, in addition to prevention campaigns that are useless, treatment centers for “cannabis addicts” have also been opened, which are also useless.

Algeria shares a border with Morocco, a country with which it has been in a situation of partial war for decades. As Morocco is the main producer of hashish in the world, the traffic to Algeria is constant. Special forces of the army and the police have received training from the United States (DEA) to try to combat the hashish traffic between Morocco and Algeria. Although the border between the two countries is closed since 1994, the reality is that there are thousands of kilometers of desert in which nothing can be controlled. Therefore, it is very easy to introduce cannabis from Morocco to Algeria.

For many years, the traffic of hashish from Morocco to Spain and Europe is very controlled. Therefore, traffickers have begun to use Algeria as the exit door of the product.

In fact, almost all the illegal substances that enter Algeria come from Morocco. The traffickers use the ports of the main coastal cities of this country to extract cannabis, sometimes in large ships and sometimes in small private boats. Logically this is the way to circumvent the measures of the government of Spain to drug trafficking from Morocco.

The main advantage that traffickers find in Algeria is that their border with Morocco is too large and impossible to control. In addition, for decades, there has been a war between Morocco and the Polisario Front, a Saharawi nationalist group backed by Algeria and which is a source of problems between this country and Morocco.

The ports of cities such as Oran, Bechar, Algiers, Bejaia or Anhaba are essential points for drug trafficking to Spain and the countries of southern Europe.

Unfortunately, cannabis is a small part of the traffic practiced from Algeria. It also deals with vehicles, tobacco, weapons and human beings.

The Embassy of the United States has data confirming that the Al Qaeda branch in the Maghreb is present in southern Algeria due to its proximity to Mali and Mauritania. This terrorist organization is financed through the trafficking of drugs and other products.

This fact is creating strong tensions between the governments of Algeria and Morocco. The Algerian Foreign Minister accuses Morocco of trafficking in hashish and of its banks whitewashing traffic profits. The relations between both countries have been in constant conflict for decades over the issue of the ownership of Western Sahara and the support of Algeria to the Polisario Front; Sahararui group that claims ownership of the West Sahara that was stolen from them by Morocco.

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Algeria calls Morocco “the supplier of hashish” and accuses its banks of laundering the money of this trade. But he also says that the Moroccan airline is part of this traffic. Specifically, Foreign Minister Abdelkader Mesahel said two years ago that the airline “transports something more than travelers.” These are very harsh accusations that have not been very well received by the Monarch of Morocco, Mohamed VI.

It is easy to find cannabis resin and dried flowers in any city in Algeria. This is due to the fact that there is a lot of cannabis due to the proximity of this country with Morocco and the impossibility of efficiently controlling the borders. The prices depend on the quality and whether it is marijuana or hashish. Approximately one ounce, almost 30 grams of West African marijuana costs between $ 25 and $ 75. Hashish costs a little more.

Unlike other neighboring countries, the Algerian police is not so corrupt. If you are caught buying, cultivating or selling cannabis, you cannot resort to bribery; at least in most cases.

Almost the entire country is an arid desert. The only area where you can grow cannabis sativa is near the Moroccan border. In this area there is water from the mountains and the climate is cooler.

Some self-cultivation is also practiced in the cities; on the terraces and balconies. But Algerians are not usually good growers. To find marijuana or high-quality hashish has to be from Morocco or from West Africa.

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