The harvested cannabis rests in the fields, drying in the sun for at least three days, then it’s collected, bundled, and transported to warehouses for additional curing and preparation. Once cured, the stalks are placed in threshing machines that shred the dried cannabis stalks. Smaller-scale farms may also remove the buds by hand, with workers cutting or manually removing the most desirable parts of the plant from the branches and stalks over mesh screens, which help to catch any falling trichomes. Once the plant material is shredded and ground up, workers are then able to remove any excess leaves and seeds. The threshed plant material is poured into a round dish with a mesh screen bottom.
The dish is shaken vigorously over a concave pan, which collects any resin powder that falls out, leaving the undesirable plant material in the dish to be discarded. The resulting resin powder is then collected and sifted in three phases that will remove unwanted materials as well as help grade them for quality. The finer the resin powder, the higher its grade in quality. After the first round of sieving, the yield is sifted again and again, each time using mesh screens with smaller and smaller pore sizes. The resin powder that’s yielded by the sieving is again graded for quality. The grading will determine the product type it’ll ultimately become. Both Lebanon and Morocco sometimes export the resin powder as kief. Once the resin powder has been successfully sieved and graded for quality, it can be stored — sometimes for years under the right conditions — until it’s ready for pressing.
Lebanese Hashish typically comes in the form of large slabs. To produce the Hashish slabs, bags of cotton or linen are filled with a particular grade of resin powder. The bags of powder are then pressed using machinery, or by “bat-pressing” — using baseball bats, heavy planks, or large sticks to pound the resin powder into hardened slabs. Even under the best storage conditions, the essential oils and moisture in trichome glands evaporate over time. As stored resin powder naturally loses some of its stickiness, it can be harder to press into a nice, cohesive form. To work around this, Lebanon Hashish manufacturers occasionally apply steam to bags of older resin powder to add back a necessary amount of moisture. After receiving a few minutes of steam, the bags of warmed, moistened resin powder are stacked and pressed into slabs. The Kingdom of Morocco is located in North Africa, with Spain to the north, bordering Algeria and the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Large-scale commercial production of Hashish started in Morocco in the 1960s, though cannabis has a long history in Morocco. It’s likely to have been introduced to the country during the Arab Conquests, which started in the seventh century and came to a close in the 15th century. Despite Morocco’s long history with cannabis, it hasn’t been legal to grow, sell, or consume since 1956. Starting in 2009, a political shift — credited to the leadership of King Mohammed VI and his senior adviser, Fouad Ali El Himma — has created an environment where political parties are discussing changes in cannabis policy, including the possibility of eventual legalization of cannabis cultivation, product manufacturing, and selling. Additionally, the social perception of cannabis is evolving, with negative connotations associated with cannabis gradually fading. The greatest concentration of cannabis farms is located in the Rif Mountains, particularly around the city of Ketama. Compared with Lebanon, Morocco receives far less annual rainfall and has low humidity; farmers in the Rif Mountains have large holding tanks of water to help support the cannabis crops during their growing season. The climate is said to be similar to Southern California, with the coldest temperatures occurring in January, averaging about 49.64 degrees Fahrenheit, or 9.8 degrees Celsius, and the hottest temperatures occurring in August, averaging about 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 27 degrees Celsius. The average monthly temperatures are about the same or less than Lebanon. Sieved Moroccan Polm Hashish, which has a light-brown color in the form of a soap, and Moroccan Slate Hashish, with a bar-shaped form which ranges in color from a greenish to a sandy-brown color, are the most common types of Hashish produced in Morocco. Visitors to the area may be able to acquire hand-rubbed Hashish, referred to locally as “gomma” — balls of cannabis resin rubbed from the stalks of fresh plants before they’re harvested. Youngsters are said to sell gomma along the roadsides to tourists and visitors. Cannabis resin is also used to prepare a traditional edible. Majoun, also spelled “majun,” is a Moroccan confection that blends kief, butter, chocolate, and honey with finely-chopped almonds, cashews, dates, walnuts, and other dried fruits. The mixture can served immediately, or refrigerated before being cut and served.
Cannabis farms are found throughout the Rif Mountains, with cannabis plants growing in the soil and receiving natural sunlight and rainfall.
Cannabis planting starts in the springtime in March, with seasonal rains lasting until about June. Large tanks store extra water to help supplement the rainfall to irrigate the crops through the summer season. When the plants are harvested in September, they’re cut, cured, and dried for about a month. Morocco’s lack of humidity, especially in the winter months, can dry the plant material to a point where it’s quite brittle and easier for the undesirable parts, such as stems and leaves to fall through the pores of the sieving cloths.