Moroccan Hash Consumption: A Counterculture Movement.


For thousands of years, the presence of hash was witnessed within practices of several cultures. In India for example, it was believed that Shiva, the god of cannabis, has brought the plant from the mountains of the Himalayas and gifted it to his people. Its consumption blossomed for centuries in regions where Hinduism was rooted. In many representations, Shiva is usually depicted smoking, eyes bloodshot red and half closed. This portrayal might be explained as a state of deep meditation, a spiritual journey or even a state of intoxication. Further on, India considered the whole concept of cannabis as something divine; a plant that is associated with magic, miracles, and divinity.

Similarly, the history of hash in Morocco is not divorced from the culture. As long as one can remember, this topic has been a field of confrontation and debate, but it is undeniable that it is deeply rooted in the history of the country. The tales of Arabian Nights are a mere example of such a statement. The fable of  »Two Hashish Eaters » is a story that narrates the witty adventures of two hashish consumers and their bizarre encounters. Before the independence of Morocco, the green plant was openly used amongst the people and was only banned after 1956. Whether smoked in sebsi pipes, eaten as a paste or mixed with drinks, cannabis/kif was locally produced and consumed before its internationalization. Although the government has continuously tried to abridge the production, it has shown itself inadequate for it will jeopardize the country’s economy.

Later on, hash became a catalyst for shifting away from a stagnant civilization, to a certain extent, a rebellious one.

However, and despite the presence of hashish in the history of the country, there is a sense of denial amongst society; a rejection of an ancient practice that slipped through the arms of time. Nevertheless and no matter how hard the fact is tried to be camouflaged, it is indisputable that Morocco is engulfed by the inflation of hash culture.

In respect to the earlier aforementioned statements, the use of hashish has always been part of society but it has been veiled and concealed. Nowadays, it is thrust to the limelight, especially by young adults. In fact, hash consumption turned out to be a transparent global phenomenon which is not only distinctive because of a specific subcultural fashion statement, but because of a new way of thinking linked with the refusal to obey. Perhaps there is a sense of rebellion that comes with every joint, a sense of risk that is only dissipated when the mind is no longer heavy, or perhaps, it is a sign of resistance. To borrow a statement from Michael Foucault “where there is power, there is resistance”, similarly, the power, however it is manifested, engenders resistance, and of course, this latter is witnessed in different ways. Cannabis consumption can easily fit in the realm of counterculture movements. Its manifestation breaks the boundaries of obedience and shatters the emblematic sphere of standard norms and shift towards a paradigm of a powerful intransigence.

Hash smokers are usually perceived from a stereotypical lens, based upon bigoted ideas and judgmental mindsets. It is undeniable that in the present-day smoking hash is stereotypically associated with hipsters, existentialism, beards and overall a community of a particular aesthetic. Withal, no one can deny that hash was not only important among cultures but it was in itself a subculture throughout history. In a way, Hash is a movement of counterculture as it breaks the notion of obedience and resists against a whole corrupted system.

The mere concept of counterculture dates as far back as before some of the most prominent subcultures came to be. The hippie movement in the sixties, for example, was observed as a counterculture attack on war, corrupted institutions, slavery, and racial segregation. It mediated the idea of peace, love and drug experimentation. Such movement came as a testament of individuality and freedom. This movement introduced the notions of liberties and reshaped the constructed norms of appearance, sexuality and mainstream societies.

By the same token, Moroccan hash consumption performed as a tool to escape the traditional Arab values and to dive deeper into one’s self. The idealization of things that did not align with traditional generations, paved the way for the rise of a counterculture movement that is linked with smoking hash. Now, of course, this article only offers a tiny glimpse of a phenomenon that necessitates years of research. The depth of this topic cannot be discussed through a few pages for they are unable to encapsulate every facade, yet, these lines aim to offer more insight on the subject matter.

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I am what I call a human chaos. Torn between the sharp edges of reality and the sweet embrace of my imagination. I display a beautiful, yet, brutal contrast. I write when my mind is too loud, and I also write when my mind is too quiet, as if I, both, free and fill myself.

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