Monday, 6 February 2012
Hashish farm in the Riff mountains, Morocco.
I was recently in the Riff mountains in Morocco, this area until recently produced the vast majority of the hashish consumed in the world. In the last few years the relative lawlessness of Afghanistan has meant that they have taken over the title of the biggest producers but the Riff still produce massive amounts of the world's hashish.
Some of the most famous forms of hashish are produced here, King Hassan is one and Double Zero is another, these forms will cost you thirteen to fifteen euros a gram in coffeeshops in Amsterdam.
Anyway, back to the Riff. I was in a beautiful little town called Chef Chaouen, a few hours drive into the mountains from Tangier and from here I walked another couple of hours outside of town up into the hills where I was met by my contact. The contact is not what you would thinbk of as a drug dealer, more like a farmer really, which is actually what these people are.
We eventually arrived at a small building with an outdoor area, complete with table and a massive pile of weed drying in the sun; and two indoor rooms, one where hashish was made and tested by buyers and another where it was pressed into blocks and stored.
The business end first, I was offered two types of hashish, one known as pollen which is the press, unpressed hashish: light brown in colour and granular in nature; and the pressed form already shaped and wrapped in plastic wrap ready for swallowing and smuggling. These were both available for thirteen dirham a gram which was about one euro, or the other option was the creme de la creme of moroccan hashish, the King Hassan which cost about six euros a gram.
The deal done we now move into the first room where I am to get to make my own hashish. A large pile of dried weed is placed on top of a membrane stretched over a large bowl. This is in turn covered by another sheet of plastic and then I get to drum the top gently with two sticks, this first gentle beating will produce the better quality King Hassan or Double Zero hashish, later drummings will produce lower quality(but still very good) hashish.
In the other half of the room are a variety of people sat around a table, testing the hashish they have bought, as well as the Kiff, the traditional mixture of tobacco and weed smoked by so many of the Moroccan men for so many generations.
The hashish produced, known as pollen looks like this.
When I was done I was led out the back of the farm, to avoid people coming in, always discreet, and walked through field after field of plants before starting on the walk back down the mountains to Chef Chaouen.