Where |Ethiopia

Capital |Addis Ababa

Inhabitants |99465819

Legal Status |illegal

Medical Program |no

Cannabis in Ethiopia

Ethiopia Ethiopia is a large, landlocked country in East Africa—in the area known as the Horn of Africa—and is home to almost 92 million inhabitants, making it the world’s fourteenth most populous country. Ethiopia is the site of one of humanity’s earliest civilizations, and has been an important centre of culture throughout history.


Cannabis Law & International Policy

Despite being the spiritual homeland of the Rastafarian movement, cannabis possession is in fact illegal in Ethiopia, and punishments can be harsh. The main body responsible for drug policy in Ethiopia is the Drug Administration and Control Authority, and the police department responsible for enforcing this policy is the Ethiopian Federal Police Counter-Narcotic Division (EFPCND).

Although Ethiopia is not a major producer of illicit drugs, its location on the trafficking routes from southern Africa and Asia renders it an important link in the international network. The key point of entry and exit is the airport at Addis Abada, and police routinely inspect flights arriving from high-risk origin points such as Bangkok, Karachi and Mumbai with the aid of sniffer dogs.

Ethiopia is one of the oldest sites of human civilization - Sensi Seeds Blog
The landlocked East African country of Ethiopia is one of the oldest sites of human civilization (Tim & Annette Gulick)

The Ethiopian government, which is currently led by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), is cooperating with neighbouring countries in Africa and with other members of the international community to combat drug trafficking in the region. However, lack of funding and resources is hampering much of the domestic effort to control illicit trade.

There is a widespread belief that much of the profits gained through involvement in the commercial cannabis trade in Ethiopia and surrounding countries goes toward funding Islamic fundamentalist groups that operate in the region. Attitudes towards the illegal trade are usually pro-eradication and prohibition, and there is currently little sign of the present global trend towards drug policy liberalisation emerging in Ethiopian politics.

80% of Ethopia's workforce is employed in agriculture - Sensi Seeds Blog
As much as 80% of Ethopia’s workforce is employed in agriculture (Trees for Life)

Cannabis Arrests & Sentences

Arrests for possession of cannabis are not unusual, and it is advisable for anyone seeking to try local cannabis in Ethiopia to exercise caution, as foreign prisoners are often detained with no notification given to the relevant embassy or consular services. However, cannabis use is prevalent and widely socially accepted.

For possession of cannabis, sentences usually range from fines to short prison sentences; penalties for distribution and trafficking are more severe, ranging from five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 Ethiopian birr (around $6,100) to ten years’ imprisonment or even longer. Traffickers arrested in Ethiopia are often Tanzanian, although Ugandan, Ethiopian, South African, and (occasionally) Belgian and British citizens make up just over half of all trafficking arrests.

Ethiopians are occasionally arrested while abroad: in 2012, Amelework Wondemagegne, a diplomat from the Ethiopian embassy in Washington, was arrested at Heathrow airport with 56kg of cannabis; her plea to have the case dismissed under diplomatic immunity laws was unsuccessful and she was sentenced to 33 months’ imprisonment.

The Cannabis Trade in Ethiopia

The main areas of cannabis cultivation are Alemaya district of eastern Hararghe, Shebendia district of Sidamo, Shashemene district (and other areas) in Oromia region, and Debre Berhan district in Amahara region. Shashemene is notable for being the location given over to the repatriation of Jamaican Rastafarians, who in 1966 were reportedly encouraged by King Haile Selassie to relocate. Now, Shashemene is quietly famous for its ties to reggae and Rastafarianism, as well as for the quality of its cannabis.

Agriculture is a hugely important part of the Ethiopian economy, accounting for 47% of GDP and 80% of exports, as well as employing 85% of the workforce. For the rural poor, cannabis is useful as a medicinal and recreational substance; increasingly, it also may provide an extra source of income as demand increases, both in the cities and from the cadres of traffickers operating in the country’s rural areas. Cannabis is usually cultivated in inaccessible areas where enforcement of laws is difficult to achieve, including areas which, prior to recent eradication and seizure efforts, had never traditionally cultivated the plant.

Eradications of cannabis in Ethiopia have been occurring since the mid-1990s, and it is estimated that 320 hectares were destroyed in 1996, followed by further seizures over the subsequent years. Seizures of herbal cannabis accounted for 423kg in 2009, up from 194kg in 2007. Total production figures for Ethiopia are unknown, as is the quantity of cannabis transported from other countries through Ethiopia to its final destination.

Currently, the price for personal quantities of cannabis in Ethiopia ranges from $0.10 to $0.40 per gram, usually for amounts of 40-50 grams; cannabis is usually herbal, but hashish from Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon is also available.

The city-district of Shashemene - Sensi Seeds Blog
The city-district of Shashemene is home to hundreds of Jamaican Rastafarians and is increasingly well-known for its cannabis (PurpleGlobeTrotter)

Cultural Use of Cannabis in Ethiopia

The majority of poor Ethiopians continue to use traditional remedies for illnesses, partly due to superstition but also due to the dire lack of healthcare infrastructure. Cannabis is widely used by traditional healers, particularly to aid in the healing of wounds.

The Coptic Church of Alexandria, to which the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church formerly belonged, is believed to have made ritual use of cannabis, and it is likely that elements of these traditions have existed for centuries in Ethiopia too, possibly surviving to present times. The modern Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church—which purports to be a continuation of traditional Coptic principles, although established in Jamaica—makes extensive use of cannabis as a sacrament, and claim that their Ethiopian and Egyptian ancestors almost certainly did so too.

Ceramic smoking pipes found in Lalibela Cave, Begemeder Province and dated to around 1320AD have been chromatographically tested and shown to contain traces of cannabis-derived substances.

Modern Attitudes to Cannabis in Ethiopia

Recreational use of cannabis appears to be increasing in Ethiopia, particularly among the urban youth and the unemployed (although absolute numbers of the latter have steadily decreased over the last decade). Furthermore, the Rastafarian population in Shashemene and Addis Ababa is responsible for a significant proportion of the domestic cultivation and consumption of cannabis in Ethiopia.

In response to what is perceived as a growing problem, the government and media have been working to publicise—and often exaggerate—the dangers of cannabis use, as well as promoting drug prevention and treatment programs.

It is important to document the history and current events of the ongoing drug war in every country that it occurs—for this reason, organisations like the Hash Marijuana & Hemp Museum in Amsterdam are crucial as they attempt to bring together information from various credible sources in order to provide the most accurate, up-to-date and unbiased information on the present global situation.

Comment Section

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Markos Teshome

it is very true and I agree that policies against this drug should be tightened.



Cannabis Should be Legalized In A Right way,Because Cannabis Cures many Disease



i think alcohol should be not legal and cannabis legal


Nadew Kadew

I don't think that there's a good drug security in Ethiopia


Ethiopian weed activists

Marijuana is often associated with other harsh cocaine because people are misinformed by everyone. They should legalize Marijuana and exporters should be taxed and growers encouraged not engaged. They should do more research on medicinal use of it and be one of the first to implement a commercially accepted "drug".


@rasta love

I completley agree ; cannabis should be legalized !!!instead this paranoid people are criticizing it for their own problems



Hahahha weed is for the rich in Ethiopia.. I would blaze it up with some of the governors and we would laugh at the locals getting punished because they are defenceless. If you have money you can do whatever the hell you want in that country. Ethiopia is China's bitch.



so is USA, most of Europe, all of east Asia and pretty much the rest of Africa as well.


Issac Yesuf

These Ethiopian Marihuana Laws are more than likely directly linked to Ethiopia's eligibility for accepting foreign funding and military aid. Before taking funds, laws and policies must reflect those that abide by the lenders'.
What astonishes me is that this plant/crop is non-toxic. It has never caused an overdose/ death. In fact this commodity is a direct competitor to toxic crude oil and chemical companies' synthetic fibers, timber/paper, cotton fibers/ textiles among others. To treat a plant that is literally a revolutionary, renewable, and sustainable resource, as if it is only a useless weed is illogical. The seed/nut of cannabis is considered a superfood because it is densely packed with nutrients to edify a healthy diet.
The prohibition of a crop that can help feed, heal, clothe, shelter, fuel and so much more is an injustice and a crime that has been committed against the people of the Ethiopia and the whole world.
Ethiopians should legalize cannabis hemp and capitalize upon the value of this commodity as the modern world becomes more educated about its uses.
The USA prohibits marihuana/cannabis but the hypocrites say one thing and do another...
US Government owns patent# 6630507, Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.
US National Library of Medicine 779 worldwide pubmed articles on cannabinoids including THC curing cancer.

Eight known* Compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) patients, four of whom are still living as of Apr. 18, 2014:



Terrific Study. Great sense of balance! Turkana Boy ? would be pleased ? In India we are in a huge debate about a film ? yet to be released called UDTA PUNJAB. Catch the vestiges of the discussion ?



plz legalize it


Where the Pantagruelion grows!

“Make the most you can of the Indian hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” – George Washington

"Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see." - Thomas Jefferson

"Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica.” – Abraham Lincoln

Your incense, myrrh, or ebony:
Come here a nobler plant to see;
And carry home at any rate,
Some seed, that you may propagate.
If in your soil it takes, to heaven
A thousand-thousand thanks be given
And say, with France, it goodly goes
Where the Pantagruelion grows!
— Francois Rabelais

Without this herb, kitchens would be detested, the tables of dining rooms abhorred, although there were great plenty and variety of most dainty and sumptuous dishes of meat set down upon them; and the choicest beds also, how richly so ever adorned with gold, silver, amber, ivory, prophyry, and the mixture of most precious metals, would without it yield no delight or pleasure to the reposer in them. Without it millers could nei­ther carry wheat, nor any other kind of corn, to the mill; nor would they be able to bring back from thence flour, or any other sort of meal whatsoever. Without it, how could the papers and writs of lawyers' clients be brought to the bar? Seldom is the mortar, lime or plaster brought to the workhouse without it. Without it how should the water be got out of the draw well? In what case would tabellions, notaries, copists, makers of counterparts, writers, clerks, secretaries, scriviners, and such like persons be without it? Were it not for it, what would become of the toll-rates and rent-rolls? Would not the noble art of print­ing perish without it? Whereof could the chassis or paper windows be made? How should the bells be rung ? The altars of Isis are adorned therewith; the pastophorian priests are therewith clad and accourted; and whole human nature covered and wrapped therein, at its first position and production in, and into this world; all the lanific trees of Seres, the bumbast and cotton bushes in the territories near the Persian sea, and gulph of Bengala: the Arabian swans, together with the plants of Maltha, do not all of them cloath, attire and apparel so many persons as this herb alone. Soldiers are now-a-days much better sheltered under it, than they were in former times, when they lived in tents covered with skins. It overshadows the theatres and amphitheatres from the heat of the scorching sun; it begirdeth and encompasseth forests, chases, parks, copses and groves, for the pleasure of hunters; it descendeth into the salt and fresh of both sea and river waters, for the profit of fishers; by it are boots of all sizes, buskins, gamashes, brodkins, gambados, shoes, pumps, slippers, and every cobbled ware wrought and made steadable for the use of man; by it the butt and rover-bows are strung, the crossbows bended, and the slings made fixed; and, as if it were an herb every whit as holy as the verveine, and reverenced by ghosts, spirits, hobgoblins, fiends and phantoms, the bodies of deceased men are never buried without it.

"Gargantua and Pantagruel," a 16th century extravagant comedy-novel written by the notorious author François Rabelais.



Do you know that the Marijuana that people were smoking back in the day is not the same as the marijuana that people are smoking today. That is because it gets stronger and stronger every time.



Uh, that is in fact is not true AT ALL! Peak potency was 1991, it's been going downhill ever since. Even if the herb looks caked with resin it could still test lower numbers. I see this all the time with over-hybridized plants bred for looks and terpene production.


B. O.

Marijuana is a drug. Your body doesn't need it but it reacts to it. Food is not a drug. Your body needs it. Marijuana contains a number of chemicals that bind with receptors of several regulation systems our brain uses to project a wide range of emotional and logical responses. This is the "high".

But think of it this way. Marijuana's physically relaxing and mentally uplifting effects have obviously found their way to legal pharmacies to be sold by prescription. (Just like, you know, er... painkillers?) It has pharmacological benfits but also potential side effects. Yes when you think of it, it's entirely a "drug" in that sense too. Keep out of reach of children.

If the idea that cannabis is a mellow drug with completely managable side effects (much of the paranoia would be gone had it been as easy to blaze one as it was to light up a cigarette in public) is too much for you to handle.

What I think is, marijuana should be sold in pharmacies, over the counter. Our pharmacists should be equipped with knowledge about dosage, associated diet and common effects of each of the strains and breeds in the shop. It wouldn't hurt if they could recommend the best munchies for each variety too. You see, it's fine for people to become addicted to coffee, sex, tech and media, cigarettes, alcohol, people and junk food, but the social reaction is negative when it comes to weed, at least it is in Ethiopia.

There's a thing called "cannabis use disorder" as kind of the little brother to cannabis addiction. Cannabis addiction is rare. But saying someone has "cannabis use disorder" is as evil as fat-shaming a kid eating ice cream. Pointing fingers and going: "he probably has 'sugar use disorder'." Pure evil.



I think its better this way self control is what people need this days and weed is a drug that fully inhabitants you hole body that ist safe or right


you have right brother

Legalize it Marijuhana



weed should be legalized, it makes people more conscious and peaceful



I think we should not be confronted to the government about something that is good in people life health and no harm
So why


Mariamawit Yohannes

.... watch this please : https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uy-VZHqwWNM

Cannabis Prohibition has RACIST beginnings in the U.S. - Ethiopia began eradicating the plant in the mid-90s - the government at the time, WITHOUT ANY SCIENTIFIC PROOF or RESEARCH, made it ILLEGAL, just like the US & other countries followed suit as well.

There are health benefits with Cannabis & it has been used for medicinal purposes across many civilizations. Not just that, it was also used for Spiritual & Recreational purposes Too. & GUESS WHAT?!?! .... You Cannot Overdose With CANNABIS .... ALCOHOL is KNOWN to cause Liver Damage if one Drinks too much in one sitting or can kill you by Alcohol Poisoning.

PLUS, the BEST WAY to END Drug - Cannabis is TECHNICALLY a PLANT 🌱 with medicinal properties that can be used as an Analgesic Drug - is to REGULATE it by bringing it in the Market.... $10 Billion Potential is AMAZING, but how will the money be allocated to achieve Ethiopia’s goal for the country & its people?!?!

There is soo much that needs to be done in Africa as a whole such as protecting people who invest in their pursuit for a better life in their country. ....
Let me give an Example of how we can achieve this through a Scenario.

A woman decides that she wants to build her dream home in Ethiopia & she puts down payment for the Builders & Engineers to start building.... after about a week, she notices that barely work has been done & the Work is behind schedule.... she never saw them again. How can she be protected if there’s No Ground-Work set in place to Recoup the Stolen Down Payment & prevent this from happening again - a Solution would be to have a database that stores a Company’s Certification & so if this were to happen, they will get caught & Forfeit their Business license.


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Where |Ethiopia

Capital |Addis Ababa

Inhabitants |99465819

Legal Status |illegal

Medical Program |no

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