Culture, Featured, Politics

Cannabis in Nigeria – A Concern for Legalisation?

Nmesoma Okwudili


April 1, 2023

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, has been a hotly debated topic all over the world, including Nigeria. Although the plant is illegal in Nigeria, the country is a significant source of West African-grown cannabis and ranks third in the world in terms of cannabis consumption.

Proponents of marijuana legalisation argue that it benefits individuals and society by relieving the burden on the criminal justice system and freeing up resources for more serious offences. It may also contribute to the development of a new industry that generates revenue for the government and jobs, as well as a decrease in the sale of marijuana on the legal market and related criminal activity.

It has also been used medicinally for centuries and has been shown to provide therapeutic benefits for a variety of medical problems.

Opponents of legalisation, on the other hand, argue that the risks outweigh the benefits. For starters, legalisation could lead to increased marijuana use and abuse, which could lead to additional health problems and societal issues. It could lead to an increase in drunk driving, workplace accidents, and addiction. Marijuana is a gateway drug that can lead to the use of more dangerous drugs. Finally, it may have a negative impact on Nigeria’s international reputation, particularly its stance on drug control.

In addition to the arguments presented above, there are specific Nigerian issues that must be considered when discussing marijuana legalisation.

First, Nigeria has a large population of young people, and proponents of marijuana legalisation argue that they should be able to use marijuana responsibly. Opponents argue that legalising marijuana will increase addiction and mental health issues among young people.

Nigeria has a history of corruption, and some fear that legalising marijuana will lead to bribery and other illegal activities in the industry.

Nigeria has a complicated relationship with Western countries and international organisations, which may influence its decision to legalise marijuana.

Currently, Nigerian laws make the cultivation, distribution, and use of cannabis illegal. The drug, however, is widely grown in several Nigerian states, including Lagos State, Edo State, Delta State, Osun State, Oyo State, and Ogun State.

Despite the arguments for and against marijuana legalisation, the Nigerian government has shown no signs of changing its stance on the drug’s criminalization. A Nigerian scientist recently argued in a recent article that the country is not ready to legalise marijuana due to a lack of scientific evidence supporting its medicinal properties. According to the article, more research is needed to determine the actual effects of marijuana on medical conditions, and Nigeria should not rush into legalising the drug without proper scientific evidence.

As a result, the debate over whether to legalise marijuana in Nigeria is complicated, necessitating careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits. While supporters argue that legalisation could have numerous benefits, opponents argue that the risks outweigh the benefits. Furthermore, Nigerian-specific issues, such as the country’s large population of young people and its history of corruption, must be considered. In the end, the decision to legalise marijuana in Nigeria will be determined by the country’s government, its drug policy, and the findings of future scientific studies on the drug’s medicinal properties.


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