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Morocco: Rapper released on bail after cannabis controversy

Moroccan rapper ElGrande Toto, also known as Taha Fahssi, holds a press conference with his lawyer (unseen) in Rabat, on October 23, 2022.   -  
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Moroccan rapper ElGrande Toto who’s prosecuted for "insults, defamation and threats", was released on bail Wednesday (Oct 26).

He was sumonned by the police in Casablanca after he revealed that he somked cannabis despite a ban on the recreational use of the plant in the north African kingdom.

His release comes after four of the six complaints logded against him were abandonned.

ElGrande Toto made his infamous remark ahead of a concert organized by the ministry of Culture were largely commented on social media and caused outrage despite Toto's apologies on Sunday.

"It all started at the concert in Rabat, so I apologise to anyone offended by my words, starting with the authorities and my public who was there: the old people, the women and men who were there, the organisers", Taha Fahssi AKA Toto said.

"We are not bad people, and we don't do bad things. We do rap, and rap has a particular language. Maybe I didn't use it properly at the right time", he added.

The controversy "became too big and it is a valuable lesson for me," added the rapper.

A Belgium-based journalist has lodged a complaint against Fahssi, accusing him of "incitement to consume drugs" in the wake of his September comments, according to the journalist's lawyer, Mohamed Karrout.

Last week, ElGrande Toto who was banned from leaving Moroccan territory.

The preliminary study focused on social media posts and public statements by ElGrande Toto who was the most stream Arab artist in the Mena region on Spotify in 2021 (135 million streams).

Moroccan regulation

The Moroccan parliament adopted last year a law allowing cannabis production for medical, cosmetic and industrial purposes only.

Morocco ranks among the world's top producers of cannabis and the smuggling of teh drug remains a challenge for authorities.

From time to time, they announce the seizure of varying amounts of cannabis resin. One of the most spectacular dating back to April 2022, when over 31 tonnes of cannabis were seized.

Traditionally cultivated for centuries, authorised under the French rule, banned in 1954 but tolerated since then, "kif" provides a living for at least 60,000 families on 55,000 hectares, according to official figures from 2019.

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