Nigeria is the largest producer and grower of cannabis in West Africa but marijuana is illegal there.
Nigeria is the third-largest consumer of marijuana in the world, with 14% of adults routinely consuming the plant. It grows freely and uncontrolled throughout the country.
The Nigerian government has lately put out several measures with various objectives to legalize medical cannabis, decriminalize personal use, and create a medical marijuana sector.
Nigeria Medical Marijuana Laws
Cannabis has a long history of use in Africa, but many scholars think Nigeria didn’t adopt the plant widely until the years after World War II.
As soldiers from the Eastern and North African fronts began to return home with seeds, cannabis production exploded during the ensuing decades. In response, the Nigerian government started detaining marijuana growers and confiscating cannabis imports from neighboring African nations.
The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1935 of the United Kingdom prohibited the use of cannabis, and the Indian Hemp Act of 1966 imposed the death penalty on anyone who planted hemp or cannabis. However, later modifications eliminated the death penalty and raised the sentence to life in prison.
Despite these arrests, the usage of marijuana by soldiers increased in the 1970s and by young Nigerians in the 1980s and continued till the 1990s.
Decree 20 was passed by the government of Nigeria’s military Junta in the 1980s, allowing the death penalty to be applied for narcotics trafficking. “Operation Burn the Weeds” eliminated cannabis plantations on thousands of hectares in the 1990s.
This drug policy is still in place today, however, recent actions taken by governments in Nigeria have revealed a shifting attitude towards cannabis usage in contemporary society.
The governor of Ondo State called for the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes in 2019 and 2020. A measure to legalize cannabis cultivation and sales for research, medical, and cosmetic uses was put out by the Nigerian House in 2020.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act (NDLEA Act) of Nigeria was amended once more in 2023, this time to enable the national agency to grant licenses for the sale, consumption, and cultivation of marijuana.
What You Should Know About Medical Marijuana in Nigeria?
Cannabis is not legal in Nigeria for either medical or recreational use. In the same way, you cannot import it. Even if you have a medical card, it is advised that you leave your cannabis (including CBD) at home if you are planning a trip to the area.
Is CBD Legal in Nigeria?
Nigerian law prohibits all “parts of the plant of the genus Cannabis” and makes no distinction between CBD-rich marijuana and THC-rich marijuana. This indicates that CBD and CBD-related products are illegal in Nigeria.
Industrial hemp in Nigeria
Industrial hemp farming is prohibited in Nigeria. The production, processing, and use of hemp are not governed by any laws or regulations in the nation. As a result, it is illegal for farmers to grow hemp for industrial use, and any such attempts may result in legal repercussions.
Can you grow cannabis in Nigeria?
Cannabis cultivation or planting is a criminal violation in Nigeria. According to the Indian Hemp Act, any individual who knowingly plants or cultivates any plant of the genus Cannabis shall be sentenced to death or imprisonment for a term of not less than 21 years.
Nigerian legislators are debating the best way to establish a legal marijuana economy in the nation where it is grown most extensively. However, cannabis is now illegal and should be avoided in Nigeria.