Is Marijuana Legal in Nigeria?

by | Guides

Jan 24, 2023

Marijuana is not yet legal in Nigeria. If the police or NDLEA catch you with weed, you can get in serious trouble.

For a country like Nigeria, where the possession of cannabis, marijuana, and other ‘illicit drugs’ is considered illegal and is punishable by a minimum sentence of 12 years, consumption of this substance is quite unbridled. 

Is Anyone Allowed to Smoke Weed?

No. No one is allowed to smoke weed in Nigeria. Transport workers smoking before or during trips and celebrities casually puffing weed on their social media pages and in their music videos are common sights in Nigeria, but it’s illegal.

A National Drug Policy Report found that Nigeria is a major source of West African-grown cannabis and ranked the World’s Third Highest Consumer of Cannabis. One begins to wonder if Marijuana and Cannabis are really illegal in the country.

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What’s the Punishment for Using or Selling Cannabis in Nigeria?

These are the facts, though; Section 11 of the NDLEA Act states that anyone that produces, sells, and imports cannabis is liable to be sentenced to life imprisonment. Possession and Use of Cannabis attract a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 25 years. 

However, there is no strict legislation concerning its use, as many still consume it openly without fear of punishment. Even when caught in possession of cannabis, as long as you are able to come to an agreement with the law enforcement officer, you will escape the law.

Can I Use Cannabis for Medical Purposes?

No, not yet. You can’t take cannabis for any medical treatment. Owing to the fact that Cannabis and Marijuana are effective in treating a range of medical conditions, from chronic pain and cancer dealing with the side effects of Chemotherapy and Mental Health Issues, Epilepsy and Glaucoma, some concerned stakeholders have been reluctant to simply write off the usage of these drugs. 

Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State, for instance, has repeatedly called for the legislation of Cannabis in Nigeria, but strictly for medical use. The Governor reported that his state is in the process of making it legal.

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, who once served as the Chairman of The West African Drugs Commission, has also called for legislation on marijuana for its medical benefits.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is quite staunch in its resolve on marijuana usage in Nigeria, especially with the active crime situation in the country, so it doesn’t look like legislation is happening anytime soon. 

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Can I grow my own weed?

No. It’s illegal to grow your own cannabis in Nigeria. 

Can I bring weed from another country?

No. You can’t buy weed in another country where it is legal and bring it to Nigeria. They usually check the borders and airports to detect drugs. So do not bring weed into Nigeria because you’ll be arrested if caught. (Read: Cost of Living in Lagos (And Nigeria))

Will Marijuana Be Made Legal Anytime Soon in Nigeria?

No. It’s very unlikely. In a situation, however, where cannabis is made legal, there are a lot of financial implications for the country. Supporters of Cannabis Legislation argue that Nigeria can make up to $145 billion from cultivating marijuana in supervised Plantations under the control of the NDLEA.

Scientists, on the other hand, believe that Nigeria is a bit premature for Cannabis legislation, and doing this would only increase the workload and responsibility of the NDLEA. 

For them, there are several questions that should be asked before marijuana can be used safely. For instance, there is the fact that there are various species of cannabis that produce different effects. Nigeria has also conducted little to no studies on the Cannabis and Marijuana plants and their variants. 

Marijuana is indeed illegal in Nigeria, but it is also clear that the government is fighting a losing battle against the usage, sale, and possession of the substance. (Read: Where to Find a Nightclub in Lagos)

Can Anyone Buy Weed in Nigeria?

Yes, but that doesn’t make it legal. Two opposing truths co-exist in this instance. Literally, anyone can get cannabis anywhere in Nigeria, dealers make good money selling the product, and law enforcement officers would conveniently turn a blind eye to its consumption as long as their palms have been greased. 

Unless there is a change in its enforcement policy, the government will continue to spend millions of naira funding Drug Abuse Campaigns to no avail.

By Allison

Allison is enthusiastic about finding information and sharing guides about Lagos. He also covers all exciting topics about Africa at Lonely Africa. He lives in Lagos with his wife Antje and cat Leo and loves fabric crafting, and watching TV in his spare time.

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