In Mauritania, it is illegal to grow, sell, possess, or use cannabis. In 1977, hearings before the US House stated that the Mauritanian Drug Enforcement Administration lacked the staff and training to adequately deal with the cannabis issue in the country. Officials presenting the hearings recommended that the country adopt harsher laws on cannabis.
Mauritania is part of a cannabis-trafficking route extending from Morocco through Mauritania and on to Mali, then overland to Egypt and eventually to Europe. Approximately one-third of Moroccan cannabis transits this Sahel route. Morocco chooses to go through Mauritania to export its cannabis to avoid Algerian soils, the two countries being in a feud since the Western Sahara issue.
In 2011, Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz stirred a controversy when he reduced the sentence of 5 cocaine smugglers, and a few months later the court released 30 convicted smugglers. In 2012, a smuggling network was dismantled, and it was discovered that it was using a special permit to cross the border delivered by the former head of police of Mauritania.
In April 2015, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz highlighted in a report on Western Sahara submitted to the UN Security Council by Ban Ki-moon that «considerable quantity of cannabis resin» goes from Morocco to eastern Africa through Mauritania. When journalists of Al-Bayan elaborated on this idea in an article, it caused a diplomatic turmoil, and the chief adviser in the Algerian embassy in Nouakchott was expelled on the basis that Algeria was the source of those «lies and false allegations».
A 2009 UN report on drug trafficking still considered that Mauritania lacked to resources to address its drug issues, and observed that very few drug seizures had been recorded in the country.
In February 2016, the Mauritanian justice charged and jailed 11 people involved in a seizure of 1.3 tons of cannabis. The news report stated that a son of former president Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla was involved in the trafficking.
In February 2017, the Moroccan authorities seized 3.13 tons of cannabis in a truck at the Guerguarate crossing point between Morocco and Mauritania. A month later, at the same Guerguarate crossing point, the Moroccan authorities seized 7.42 tons of cannabis in a truck heading to Mauritania.
- United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, Decriminalization of Marihuana: Hearings Before the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress, First Session, March 14, 15, and 16, 1977, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977
- Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (2007). DIANE Publishing. 2009. pp. 53–. ISBN 978-1-4379-0280-8.
- Riccardo Alcaro; Nicoletta Pirozzi (21 May 2014). Transatlantic Security from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa. Edizioni Nuova Cultura. pp. 65–. ISBN 978-88-6812-273-7.
- Wolfram Lacher, Organized Crime and Conflict in the Sahel-Sahara Region, Carnegieendowment.org, 13 September 2012
- Frederic Wehrey; Anouar Boukhars (2 April 2013). Perilous Desert: Insecurity in the Sahara. Brookings Institution Press. pp. 67–. ISBN 978-0-87003-405-3.
- West Africa: Mauritania Denounces the Threat of Moroccan Cannabis for the Sahel-Saharan Region (UN Report), Allafrica.com, 18 April 2015
- Mauritania, Algeria in diplomatic crisis over drugs article, Alarabiya.com, 27 April 2015
- United Nations, Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2009, United Nations Publications, 2010
- 11 arrested in Mauritania in connection with 1.3 tonnes of drugs seized, Africanews.com, 6 February 2016
- Morocco seizes over 3 tons of cannabis at crossing point with Mauritania, Xinhuanet.conm, 23 February 2017
- Morocco seizes 7.42 tons of cannabis at crossing point with Mauritania, Themaghrebtimes.com, 13 March 2017
- The Geopolitics of Drugs. Northeastern University Press. 1996. p. 114.