What are Moroccan drug laws and how are they practised?
December 18, 2004 3:31 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine is going to Morocco and I'm somewhat concerned about what's going to happen if he gets caught smoking marijuana. Does anyone know Moroccan drug laws, or even better, how it's practiced?
posted by klue to Law & Government (21 answers total)
I believe there's a hard and fast rule here. Unless you're going to Amsterdam, it is never a good idea to use illegal drugs while abroad.
posted by salmacis at 3:53 AM on December 18, 2004

I don't know Morocco first hand, but my general rule is that if you are there as a tourist, avoid buying dope. I have heard plenty of stories about folk getting sold to the cops by the dealers, who then have the confiscated dope returned to them for the circle to begin anew.

If you are staying there longer term, you just need to keep your eyes and nose open, and meet the right people... in the muslim / arab world, hash smoking is a very old tradition and a significant minority of the adult male population are into it, but it is kept very much under the table. So you need to make friends, and get to know the people who know. Even then, you still need to be very discrete about it to avoid the cops - depending on the country, they'll see you either as a chump to be milked for a massive bribe or a decadent westerner to be made an example of.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:16 AM on December 18, 2004

If you want to smoke Moroccan weed do it in Amsterdam.

Pot really cheap in Morocco but the guy who sells it to you may turn you into the police for the reward.

For getting caught you could spend up to 10 years in jail plus a steep fine.

Unless you have friends who are locals the risk isn’t worth the gain.

Also (What Meatbomb said)
posted by Tenuki at 5:31 AM on December 18, 2004

Speakling from firsthand experience, I was never arrested for smoking, but was also very careful about not being caught. The closer you get to the Kif mountains, the more likely you'll find the stuff, but I would be very, very weary of buying from a local. The hash we had was purchased from a French couple and smoking was restricted to rooftops, away from street-sight.

A lot of people do it (since alcohol is prohibitted), but you have to be careful about the double-standard foriegners are held to. Yes, everyone and their grandfather could probably score you a little hash (weed is much harder to find), but if someone decides they could make more money turning you in to an enterprising cop trying to make a name for themselves, well, you could be fucked pretty hard, pretty fast.

Just a small side note, if I may. If you've never been to Morocco before, the medina of Fes or Marakesh is definately not the place to get stoned, because it's so ridiculously easy to lose your bearings, get lost and fall prey to the nastier elements. Fes in particular, which isn't known as the most complicated square mile on Earth for nothing.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:36 AM on December 18, 2004

I believe there's a hard and fast rule here. Unless you're going to Amsterdam, it is never a good idea to use illegal drugs while abroad.

That's a very strange hard and fast rule. The rules in Amsterdam re cannabis products (and prostitution, for that matter) exist throughout Holland, and depending on the drug your talking about, the penalty for posession and use in some countries is actually less than it is in the U.S. (assuming that your 'abroad' is the same as my 'abroad').
posted by bingo at 7:29 AM on December 18, 2004

So much fear; so little experience.
posted by squirrel at 7:45 AM on December 18, 2004

Ha. I have first hand experience in Morocco, not smoking/buying dope, but just general " Wow. We pretty much got hijkacked" . Yep. Worst. Day. Ever. I personally would avoid Morocco again. If you are american, I suggest talking in a really contrived "euro-whatever" accent. Otherwise, you WILL be singled out. Sorry to be so closed minded, but ... experience dictates.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 9:30 AM on December 18, 2004

Tell him to watch Midnight Express before he leaves.
posted by jeremias at 9:39 AM on December 18, 2004

so enlighten us, pray, dear squirrel.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:52 AM on December 18, 2004

European media regularly have stories about poor sods who thought they needed some dope in Morocco. Bad idea. Also a bad idea: being a bus driver/truck driver and having someone stuff your gas tank/spare wheel/... with dope, only to get caught by the border patrols.

The phrase "rotting away in prison" was invented for westerners trying to survive 10 years + in Moroccan prisons, especially if they need medical attention. Basically, your only hope is that the king dies and his successor hands out a general pardon - note: the last king was installed on the throne 3 or 4 years ago, he's in excellent health & in the prime of his life. Do not, not, under any circumstance, go near drugs in Morocco.
posted by NekulturnY at 10:08 AM on December 18, 2004

They say weed is non-addictive, but when you read stuff like this you just gotta wonder. It flabbergasts me that there are people willing to risk their safety for a stone.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:43 AM on December 18, 2004

Just as much as it flabbergasts me that some countries will throw you in jail (or kill you) for possession of a plant.
posted by jtron at 11:03 AM on December 18, 2004

I second what BrodieShadeTree said. Morocco is not a good place to appear even a tiny bit vulnerable, where for "vulnerable" read any one of "alone," "carrying a backpack," or "American". "Stoned" would just be painting an enormous taget on your chest.

My particular worst day ever was in Tangiers, where I was -- within the space of a single afternoon -- robbed in full view of at least 50 people, rescued, robbed at knifepoint by my rescuers, rescued again and essentially kidnapped by carpet sellers, "offered" some hash in an obvious blackmail setup, relieved of my emergency credit card when I refused to buy either carpet or drugs, and finally rescued a third time by a hostel owner who was genuinely embarassed by the whole situation, walked me over a mile to the nearest telephone so I could cancel the credit card, and put me on the first ferry back to Spain. Yay, Tangiers.

I've done a fair amount of second- and third-world travel and had some great experiences -- but that's the only country where I've ever felt like I might not make it out again. If your friend's planning to smoke pot there, he's a moron who deserves everything that happens to him.
posted by ook at 12:29 PM on December 18, 2004 [1 favorite]

So much fear; so little experience.

At least two people have already explained why it's a bad idea, with direct experience. What in the hell are you talking about?

We pretty much got hijkacked" . Yep. Worst. Day. Ever.

Lemme guess: Tangiers, right? The other parts aren't nearly as bad. Once you get the hang of it, at least. I met some extremely nice people in Morocco -- one teen even gave me his prized Kalid tape (this was a few years ago, before America blew just about all its international good will).

There is a kind of Arabic mentality that you have to get into if you're going to be treated as anything but a culturally insensitive ATM machine. This was emphasized to me when, while taking a cab in Marakesh, the driver pulled over at one point and started screaming at this guy on a motorcycle. The other guy started yelling back -- I thought they were going to get into a fight. Finally we drove on, and I asked him what was wrong? He said, "Oh, that is my brother-in-law. I asked him what he was bringing over to dinner tonight."

The language uses a lot more of the imperitive tense, so it sounds like people are ordering each other around and yelling. It can take some getting used to. This is all probably better for another thread. Anyway, conclusion: don't do drugs unless you are in a secure location and your supplier is someone you absolutely trust. And even then, be careful.

On preview: Yep, Tangiers sucks.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:35 PM on December 18, 2004

My rule of thumb is this. If you don't know how to say, in the local language, 'This is a setup and I'm off' in a convincing manner, then don't bother. Marrakech after dark is a trip in and of itself.
posted by punilux at 2:18 PM on December 18, 2004

I dunno about Morrocco, but in my experience the safesy people to score from whilst on holiday overseas are transvestites. Find the flashy transvestites. They hate cops, they aren't physically tough, and they have an affinity for outsiders, especially Western male outsiders.
posted by dydecker at 3:44 PM on December 18, 2004

Forgive the spare snarkiness of my post, but I stand by the spirit of my comment. I live in Asia (cue chilling yellow menace theme) and thus deal continuously with western tourists who have been choked to the gills with xenophobic misinformation. Their heads hum and crackle like fear geiger counters; they clutch their daypacks, eyes pie-wide and Teva'd toes angled protectively inward. They sit in a conspiratorial clutch at the western restaurants, trading warnings.

Without going too far into a rant, I'll just say that I see these attitudes as being part of a mentality of entitlement, cultivated in privileged distance from exoticness and based on an irrational fear that the "other" covets and seeks to steal not just their money, but their essence.

There is, of course, another class of traveler who understands that people, real people, live everywhere, and that real people are generally honest and surprisingly generous. Real people everywhere love to party, and if a traveler can get over himself to the point where he can get in tune with the people, and pick up on what are usually very clear invitation and warning markers, he can party with them in the ways that they like to party. In my experience, these travelers generally do all right for themselves.

I should have more compassion, I know. My patience has been worn thin by phobic tourists because I infer from them that I'm living in a third-world crime ghetto or police state; and I'm not.

Several intelligent, informed posters have contributed to this thread, and I regret throwing the blanket of my scorn over them. I hope I've clarified what I mean to deride.
posted by squirrel at 6:49 PM on December 18, 2004 [3 favorites]

Tell him to read squirrel's post, and not to watch Midnight Express. Jeremias, the film's director Oliver Stone recently apologized to Turkey for over-dramatising the state of the prisons in the film.

Well, all that doesn't mean go ahead and buy hash or weed from any stranger in a new country. He would probably be much better of not getting stoned until he is very comfortable in Morocco, knows enough people, knows his way around, etc. etc...
posted by copperbleu at 10:00 AM on December 19, 2004

Picking film nits: Oliver Stone didn't direct Midnight Express, he wrote the screenplay. The underrated Alan Parker was the director. None of this has any bearing on where to buy dope in Morocco, but since I'm firmly of the opinion that buying illegal drugs is not smart - and the height of stupidity when in a foreign country - this is all I have to add... Carry on.
posted by JollyWanker at 11:42 AM on December 19, 2004

Oliver Stone recently apologized to Turkey for over-dramatising the state of the prisons in the film

ot,I guess, but when I finally saw that film, I had such a prejudiced expectation for human rights violations to exist in a turkish prison that I actually was kind of 'underhorrified'. I mean, it's not like the guy was caught smoking a joint- he tries to cross a border with huge slabs of dope taped to his body. I could not bring myself to be overly sympathetic to such an idiot (I'm not saying it really ought to be illegal, but it wasn't like the guy was just expressing personal freedom or something - he was trying to make a buck.)
posted by mdn at 1:02 PM on December 19, 2004

Go to Chefchouen. Boston Hotel. Rif Mountains. Owner will offer you hash and rooms. Same will happen in several other hotels. Not bad, not terribly unsafe. Avoid buying any large quantities (which will be offered), just get what you wish for your private use. Better yet, just befriend some locals, and smoke with them, obviously not in public places. Chefchouen is full of people who only visit to relax and smoke hash. Tangier really sucks, if you want to go back to Spain by ferry go via Melilla instead. Being american in Morocco is not a good idea most of the time. As brazilians, we had no real problems other than the normal pestering.
posted by ig at 1:39 PM on December 19, 2004

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