Is Nigeria The World’s Leading Consumer of Cannabis?

Credit: Vanguard News

As a cannabis consumer, you have probably wondered which country has the greatest number of cannabis lovers, and you may have even predicted it was either Canada or the USA, considering that cannabis is legal and somewhat legal in these nations.

But an African country is home to the greatest population of weed consumers. According to New Frontier Data, about 19.4% of Nigerians are cannabis consumers, the highest rate of any country in the world.

Surprisingly, this heavy cannabis consumption takes place despite cannabis possession being illegal and punishable with 12 years’ imprisonment.

But Way of Leaf, a cannabis-centric media company, has disputed the notion that Nigeria is the world’s leading weed nation. The report says that while it is challenging to gather accurate data on cannabis consumption, Canadian’s are likely the world’s leading cannabis consumer.

Local Farmers Sustain Nigeria’s Weed Appetite

With the massive cannabis consumption in Nigeria, farmers across the country are turning to the cannabis plant, as it nets them more profits than anything else. Many farmers that previously grew cocoa have thrown caution to the winds and decided to grow cannabis to make more money.

The farmers know that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is always on the prowl to catch up with them, and they have to devise ways of growing cannabis undetected. The main tactic is planting weed far into the bush, away from law enforcement agents, or cleverly disguising cannabis with other plants.

Nigeria is a corrupt country, and if the law catches up to you, you can always pay your way to freedom. But then it’s not like these farmers have some money sitting in the bank. The farmer’s best defense is to make sure they’re not caught in the first place.

Cannabis Politics

Nigerians are known to be ambitious. You’ll find them in all corners of the earth. They are aware of the vast economic potential of cannabis, but what are the politics around legalization like?

Some politicians are for legalization while others are against it. Nigeria’s cannabis economy is worth an estimated $15.3 billion. Omoyele Sowore, a 2018 presidential aspirant, had promised to decriminalize cannabis and connect farmers to international markets. He famously said that his government would stop harassing cannabis growers and instead, go after politicians “who have always been sniffing cocaine in their mansions”. Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president has also called for the decriminalization of cannabis.

Nigeria has a long list of domestic and economic troubles, with an unspeakably high unemployment rate. Legalizing cannabis would open the way for Nigerian farmers to cater to the worldwide cannabis demand and achieve economic freedom.

So, Is It Nigeria, Canada, or Another Country?

For the longest time, the cannabis industry worldwide has been suffocating under restrictive laws. But in recent times, we have seen tremendous progress in decriminalizing cannabis for both recreational and medical reasons, and nothing makes it clearer than the 2020 US election.

The cannabis freedom and economic incentives we are seeing at the moment will allow data companies to perform comprehensive research, and tell us the nation that has the highest number of cannabis consumers.

Many countries in Europe have recently relaxed their cannabis laws, and the United States, along with Mexico, have been legalizing in some shape or form thus, allowing citizens to be forthcoming about their love and need for cannabis. But most developing nations still take a hard-line stance on cannabis, locking people up for possession or use, which makes it hard to collect data.

Nigeria, Canada, and the United States are the likely contenders for the world’s biggest population of cannabis consumers. All these countries have vibrant cannabis sub-cultures, and they use art to express how cannabis shapes their philosophy and lifestyle.


Nigeria, as do many African countries, is at the mercy of politicians, but the depressing truth is the politicians are driven by selfish interests, and hardly make decisions to benefit their nation.

Going back to the question: Is Nigeria the World’s Leading Consumer of Cannabis?


Written by: Tim Murangiri

Edited by: Veronica Castillo

Sponsored by:

Please visit our sponsors! Collectively, they compensate the Writers for their contributions to this blog.