Most African countries have restrictive cannabis policy. Historically, both the governments and religious groups have been opposed to cannabis legalization. But, in the backdrop of the booming cannabis economy, some African countries decriminalizing cannabis, falling into place with the western world.
These countries have strategically relaxed their laws to tap into the global, money-spinning, cannabis economy. If you’re looking to travel to Africa, and you intend to consume recreational cannabis, ensure that you’re familiar with the cannabis policy in that country.
In this post, I shine a spotlight on a few countries that have made major progress as far as creating an enabling environment for cannabis consumption.
Ghana is one of the top reformist nations in Africa. In 2019, the country was on the map for its program, “Year of Return,” and in 2020, they have done it again by legalizing cannabis.
Ghana’s parliament passed a bill allowing the use of cannabis for medical and scientific reasons. This reform has legitimized the cannabis economy in Ghana where more people are turning to organic products for health improvement.
A Ghanaian Member of Parliament, Ras Mubarak, emphasized that they hadn’t approved cannabis for recreational reasons and that the legal provision for the acceptable THC content must be followed.
Unlike the United States and some other countries, in South Africa, if you take domestic flights withint he country, it’s not a criminal offense to have some cannabis on you, but this freedom doesn’t extend to international flights.
Cannabis use in South Africa is an age-old practice. Indigenous people used it to ease childbirth and it is a mainstay in various Afrikaner recipes. Since 2018, cannabis is legal for possession and cultivation. Whether you use it for recreational or medicinal reasons, it’s legal both ways.
But minor provisions are still enforced. For instance, cannabis must only be used by adults in private. Buying and selling are also prohibited.
If you’re in public, smoking cannabis around non-consenting adults or minors, it can be met with legal action.
Any mention of Zimbabwe may trigger the memories of the infamous strongman, Robert Mugabe. But this African nation is on the frontline in legalizing cannabis.
Historically, the country had punitive cannabis laws, where possession with intent to distribute was met with a severe jail term. You see, Zimbabwe is mostly an agrarian economy (rural rather than urban-based), and this new law is designed to give farmers access to new markets. Farmers may apply for a cultivation license and the government reserves the right to approve them.
Zimbabwe also has some limitations on cannabis use; approving it for medicinal and industrial reasons, yet prohibiting recreational use.
The state officials of Zambia legalized cannabis for medicinal reasons. Growing cannabis for export is also permitted.
Farmers are required to apply for a cultivation license, but annual licensing fees are hefty, which minimizes the number of farmers looking for a license.
Zambia has attracted criticism that its cannabis laws are steeped in economic exploitation. But still, this is a step forward considering that growing cannabis or possessing it used to attract severe punishment.
About 51% of Malawi’s population lives below the poverty line. But this country is a major exporter of tobacco.
In 2020, the National Assembly of Malawi passed a bill approving cultivation and possession of cannabis for medical reasons.
It’s a strategic effort by the government to position Malawi as a major cannabis exporter. Boniface Kadzamira, the legislator who tabled the cannabis motion, declared that he hopes cannabis will become one of their main cash cows and create job opportunities.
Cannabis legalization in Africa , still has a long way to go, but these countries have taken the lead and made it easier for others to follow.
Cannabis has tremendous therapeutic benefits, and many people are turning away from conventional healing methods in favor of cannabis.
By eliminating restrictive cannabis laws, people have access to cheap health improvement, and also economic opportunities.
Written by: Tim Murangiri
Edited by: Veronica Castillo
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