Status of Legalization of Cannabis in African Countries

The possession and use of Cannabis is only legal in a few countries around the world, including Canada, Uruguay, and a few others. However, certain laws and regulations must be followed in order to possess or use Cannabis. In addition, the status of Cannabis in African countries varies by country. Some countries have legalized the use of medical Cannabis for the wellness of individuals while other countries are still battling to decriminalize Cannabis. 

With so much controversy surrounding the legalization of Cannabis in African nations, it can be quite challenging to understand the exact status of cannabis legalization. But, we’ve done the research for you and found all of the necessary information for you to understand Cannabis laws and regulations in African nations.

South Africa 

Cannabis, also known as Dagga, is legal in South Africa. However, the rules and regulations governing it are a bit confusing. As early as the 1920s, the regulatory authorities banned the use of Cannabis throughout South Africa, and strict punishment was announced for those who possessed large quantities of Cannabis. But, as of 2018, the government of South Africa has decriminalized Cannabis, but only for private use. 

In private, Cannabis use or possession is legal, but in public it can be punished and result in jail time. Likewise, selling and buying cannabis is prohibited. Medical Cannabis, however, is subject to different laws. A bill to legalize the use and cultivation of Cannabis has been introduced recently, and by the end of 2023, it is likely that the drug will be legally available in the country. 


Regulatory authorities in Malawi have legalized the cultivation of medicinal and hemp-based Cannabis in 2021. However, it is not clear whether the use of hemp-based products that includes CBD-infused products are legal or not because the laws are vague. 

Similar to the laws in many countries, recreational cannabis use is strictly prohibited, but medical cannabis is permitted with a proper prescription. But, since the laws are not specific, doctors are having second thoughts about prescribing medical marijuana to their patients. 


Cannabis is illegal in Nigeria for both recreational and medical purposes. It is illegal to grow, transport, sell or consume cannabis in the country. Yet, the government has failed to halt cannabis cultivation or use in Nigeria due to the country’s flawed justice system. A staggering amount of cannabis is exported each year without anyone raising an eyebrow.

The possession of Cannabis in Nigeria carries a life sentence. The laws for the cultivation and use of marijuana in the country are just about the same. Still, with over 200 million people living in Nigeria, it is estimated that over 10% of the adults are regularly using Cannabis in the country, and the national drug regulatory authorities have been unsuccessful in compiling a Cannabis legalization act. 


Similar to Nigeria, Cannabis is not allowed to be used for recreational or medical purposes in Egypt. In some cases, a person who is found in possession of Cannabis can be sentenced to prison or even get the death penalty. However, the laws regarding Cannabis are often ignored in the country and a large number of people consume Cannabis daily. 

Furthermore, Egypt is one of the biggest Cannabis exporters in the world. Recent reports suggest that more and more farmers are cultivating Cannabis in Egypt to increase their profits and the government is yet to take any action against the farmers growing Cannabis in the country. 

Other African Countries 

Moreover, other African countries that include Ghana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have completely legalized the use of medical Cannabis in their countries. Furthermore, countries that include LesothoeSwatini, Uganda, and Rwanda have given permission to cultivate Cannabis but their use is still not decriminalized in these countries.

This article was published on 1st of June, 2021

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • ThavhanyedzaM
    July 2, 2021 12:47 pm

    South africa is doing really great in this aspect of industry and really soon they will release the master plan

    • South African Government under the Health department SAPHRA is currently working on a Cannabis Master plan that will encourage local farmers and bring everyone on board. You are right Thav


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