Ketama’s outstretched hash fields

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Ketama, Morocco

Ketama is a small town surrounded by numerous outstretched hash fields, worth millions of euros on the streets in Europe – just about a hundred kilometres away.

I had arrived in Morocco’s hash capital.

While I was traveling through Morocco, I got invited to a wedding in Targuist. While I was hitchhiking there from Merzouga, I went through Ketama. As I hadn’t read anything, and didn’t know anything about this area before, I was surprised by all the attention I drew. As I was simply walking down the street, without even holding up my thumb, multiple cars kept stopping near me. Soon, everything became clear: I had arrived in Morocco’s hash capital.

Ketama is a small town surrounded by numerous outstretched hash fields, worth millions of euros on the streets in Europe – just about a hundred kilometres away. The price in Ketama is cheap; not even a euro for a gram of high quality hashish. Officially, it’s illegal to smoke or sell hashish. This law is enforced in all of Morocco’s bigger cities, such as Casablanca and Rabat. Although, it seems like Ketama is subject to a different law, since growing, buying, and selling is openly practiced. There is even a police station at the end of the town, just meters from where the “hash farmers” plough. They can’t be that blind.

I decided to hitch a ride in one of the cars, and asked to take a closer look at one of the fields. The driver took me to his uncle’s. He told me on the way that I shouldn’t take pictures of other fields, because it would make people angry. At the field that he showed me, I was allowed to take as many pictures as I wanted, and even have a sniff of their plants. He took me to the next village, called Issaguen, where business was just as evident.

For hitchhikers, it can be quite daunting. On the way back, near the village of Taferka, I was followed for kilometres by a group of guys aggressively trying to persuade me to “drink at least one cup of tea at their place” – of course, they were aiming for a new buyer. And one ride I got earlier, from a family who at first seemed to have good intentions, called me daily for months afterward, trying to get me to smuggle their hashish through Europe’s airports. The Rif is a mountainous region in Northern Morocco. The mountain chain has been inhabited by Berbers since the prehistoric era. The region makes for overwhelming views of nature and unforgettable memories of little traditional towns. It was here where I was invited to a Moroccan wedding where I made memories of dancing to traditional Berber oboe music under a sky full of stars, with heaps of good food and friendly family members.

I certainly do not encourage hitchhikers to avoid the place. The ride from Issaguen to Targuist on an astonishing pass through the Rif Mountains was simply wonderful. And besides that, hashish is somehow part of Morocco’s culture. Growing it is a skill passed along by generations and generations. Had I not stopped smoking weed and hash years before, I would have definitely given it a try, for the price and quality.

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