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Smoking Hashish in Morocco

Kif in the Rif

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Smoking hashish in Morocco is commonplace but illegal. If you are visiting Morocco and you're hauling a backpack, you will probably be offered hashish (a form of marijuana) several times on your first day there. Many young people who travel to Morocco consider the easy availability of hashish (or "Kif" as the locals call it) as a major reason to visit. While hash (kif) is smoked by a large percentage of the male population in Morocco, it is illegal. While this article does not wish to encourage any illegal activity it is a fact that many people do use hash when they are in Morocco and they should be informed of some issues surrounding the smoking of "kif".

Don't be afraid to say no to persistent young men offering "kif" if you are not interested. It is likely that you will be offered a carpet or a tour in the same breath, so be polite but firm and move on.

Buying Hashish (Kif) in Morocco

You won't have to look for a dealer in Morocco -- there will be plenty of young men offering hashish to you on the streets. If you are looking for quality, then buying off a stranger in the street is not the way to go. Although smoking hashish is illegal in Morocco, plenty of men do it and if you can find some locals to smoke with, that's probably the best way to try. Smoking with local men will also mean the "kif" is of decent quality. If you have smoked hashish before, then beware that the homegrown variety is reportedly more potent than what you are used to at home.

Smoking Hashish or Kif

Hashish (Kif) is basically processed cannabis (marijuana). It looks like a piece of sticky brown clay. The colors will vary depending on the type and quality of the hashish. Hashish is usually crumbled, mixed with tobacco and then rolled into a joint (cigarette) or smoked in a pipe. You can buy small pipes (sebsis) or water pipes (hookahs) in most markets around Morocco. The pipes will not be displayed openly but venture inside some of the small bazaars and you'll find them.

In every Moroccan city you will find small cafes where local men smoke their water pipes while playing cards and drinking mint tea. These places are probably the best places to smoke for men, if accompanied by locals. Women tourists look very awkward in these cafes. There are also plenty of backpacker hostels and guesthouses where people feel safe enough to smoke, especially in towns like Chefchaouen, but always be careful since it is illegal. Tourists will also often smoke hash on a beach or other nature spots away from the general public.

Make sure you never smoke walking around town or in a public place, especially near mosques. The Lonely Planet Guide also suggests that you never travel with any hashish in your possession and that you should mistrust all dealers since many are in fact police informers.

The Kif of the Rif

The Rif mountains (Northeast of Morocco) is where most of the cannabis (marijuana) is grown and processed into Hashish. people have been enjoying kif in the Rif mountains for centuries. According to the Lonely Planet Guide the word "kif" stems from the arabic word for 'pleasure'. But the casual use by a goat herder has been overtaken by a multi-million dollar industry. Nowadays, if you are traveling in this area you are assumed to be interested in buying drugs. Towns like Chefchaouen are a haven for stoned backpackers. Needless to say it's a mellow town with a good atmosphere and one of the safest places in Morocco for visitors. But there are plenty of towns where the drug business is all business and the scene is far from friendly. Ketama in particular is by all accounts a rough and dangerous place with plenty of scams involving drug dealers and police, so be careful if you decide to travel here. For an inside guide to this region in search of the best "kif", see the Hip Guide's article on the Kif in the Rif

Penalties for Smoking and Buying Hashish

The usual penalty for smoking or buying Hashish is ten years imprisonment. Since cannabis is unofficially Morocco's biggest foreign currency earner it is obvious that the government can hardly afford to make a serious crackdown on the business. Those who are most often fined or penalized are therefore the traveler smoking on a street or being careless when buying off an undercover policeman in a marketplace. If you ever find yourself in this situation, see if you can pay a fine on the spot rather than agreeing to go to prison; Moroccan jails are not pleasant places. The US State Department has some information about US citizens and their rights if they are caught with drugs abroad.

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