Where |Nigeria

Capital |Abuja

Inhabitants |182202000

Legal Status |illegal

Medical Program |no

Cannabis in Nigeria

NIGERIA The federal republic of Nigeria is a large country on the coast of West Africa. It has a population of over 170 million people and is by far the most densely populated country in Africa. Nigeria is the economic centre of the region and a very important hub in the international trade triangle that connects South America, West Africa and Europe.

History of Cannabis in Nigeria

The Port of Lagos - Sensi Seeds Blog
The Port of Lagos has now become one of Nigeria’s most important drug-trafficking hubs

Cannabis is thought to have arrived in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa relatively late compared with much of the rest of the continent; it is believed that soldiers and sailors returning from conflict zones in North Africa and the Far East after World War II brought the seeds with them. Certainly, pre-war botanical treatises covering tropical West Africa do not mention cannabis among the useful plants of the region. Cannabis use quickly became established, and cultivation spread rapidly throughout the country, with the 1960s heralding a new era in which cannabis became a public issue, subsequent to several arrests of Nigerian nationals abroad, plantations being discovered in various locations, and a handful of cases of reported cannabis-associated psychiatric illness.

The Cannabis Trade in Nigeria

Cannabis cultivation in Nigeria - Sensi Seeds Blog
In Nigeria, cannabis cultivation is concentrated in inaccessible areas, such as much of Edo state.

Today, cannabis is grown throughout the country, with most cultivation sites located in the states of Edo, Delta, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Ogun and Oyo in the south-west, where the tropical coastal climate allows the plant to thrive. Much of Nigeria’s population is still heavily dependent on agriculture, and cannabis is a favoured crop as it commands far higher prices than any other.

It is thought that over half of the deforestation activities that took place in Nigeria in the period between 2010 and 2012 were for the purpose of clearing land for cannabis cultivation. This loss of habitat further threatens many already-endangered species, including the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee subspecies, the most threatened of all chimpanzee populations.

Currently, a joint’s worth of cannabis can be purchased for around 20 naira (£0.08/€0.09) in most urban areas, and cannabis is often smoked openly in such locations. There are even coffeeshop-style venues in some cities, in which cannabis can be purchased and consumed. Although cannabis is illegal in Nigeria, police can often be bribed for minor cases of possession to be ignored; corruption throughout the government often means that trafficking cases are also ignored.

Cultural Use of Cannabis in Nigeria

While cannabis has only existed in Nigeria for a few decades, a culture of use has sprung up around it. Several notable Nigerian musicians, including the renowned Fela Kuti, espoused its use, and it has become an increasingly common sight among the nation’s youth, particularly in urban areas. It is thought that up to 22% of Nigerians regularly smoke cannabis, with the 15-29 demographic the most likely to consume the drug.

Unlike many countries in North and South-East Africa, there is no particular culture of spiritual or religious use of cannabis in Nigeria, nor does it appear in folk-medicine—no doubt due to its recent introduction. There are no traditional words for cannabis: it is popularly known as Indian hemp, and Yoruba and Ibo loanwords are also in widespread use (igbo and nwonkaka).

Law & International Policy

Nigeria’s cannabis policies are strict and rigorously enforced. Cannabis was one of the first illicit narcotic substances introduced to Nigeria, and while its significance has been eclipsed by the trade in heroin and cocaine, it is still viewed as a serious problem.

The main body of authority over drug policy and enforcement is the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), which has liaised with the U.S. government and with regional authorities to jointly combat narcotics trafficking in West Africa. US-donated full-body scanners implemented at the major international airports have thus far proved particularly effective.

However, the agency is limited in its power, as it is underfunded and thus underequipped and understaffed. As well as following various pieces of domestic legislation, Nigeria is a signatory to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1988 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

Nigeria’s efforts to curb illicit trafficking have been hampered by persistent allegations of involvement in cannabis trafficking on the part of corrupt government employees; there is a general perception among the international community that the nation is not acting sufficiently to bring itself in line with international law.

Cannabis Arrests & Sentences

Ahmadu Giade - Sensi Seeds Blog
Ahmadu Giade, chairman of Nigeria’s NDLEA, linked cannabis use to crimes such as rape and murder in an interview given last year.

Penalties for possession, cultivation and trafficking of cannabis are severe in Nigeria. In the most serious trafficking cases, life imprisonment may be imposed; trafficking, import and sale are all punishable by a minimum sentence of 21 years. Up until 1992, serious cases of cannabis trafficking were punishable by death. Possession is nominally punishable by at least four year’s imprisonment, although possession cases rarely make it to court due to widespread corruption.

In 2012, 8,052 individuals were arrested on drug-related offences; of the 2,827,862 drug-related arrests made between 1990 and 2009, 2,794,733 were cannabis-related. 2008 was a remarkable year in terms of cannabis arrests, with 335,534 individuals detained.

In 2011, the NDLEA commenced night patrols on the major roads in Osun state, in an attempt to intercept the covered trucks that are often used to transport cannabis during the hours of darkness. In 2011, 918 hectares of cannabis was eradicated; in 2012, 1,404.27 hectares of cannabis was eradicated, with 764 hectares in Ekiti state alone, and over 233 MT of cannabis was seized.

So far in 2013, the NDLEA has destroyed 102 metric tons (MT) of cannabis. In April 2013, an NDLEA spokesperson stated that 60% of Nigeria’s cannabis traffickers had been driven out of the country.

Modern Attitudes to Cannabis in Nigeria

In a newspaper interview given in April 2012, NDLEA chairman Ahmadu Giade linked cannabis use with crimes including rape, murder, armed robbery and mob attacks. Attitudes towards cannabis and other illegal drugs are generally intolerant on the part of the authorities, whereas surveys conducted on members of the public indicate that public opinion generally favours education and awareness and campaigns over increased penalties.

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

Post a comment

Ohans Stanley

Nice article please am a cannabis user in Nigeria. Delta state in particular, you did a nice research though but please can you throw more light. I will like to know how correct this is. Here we have two major types of cannabis , there is the one we call "igbo" or just "weed" this one has an aroma that lingers for some time.(some say offensive aroma) while another one we caLl "skunk" this one does not have a lingering aroma and its not really that common(although the demand for it is high in places like Lagos). please am a bit confused as to know which is the indica or sativa amongst them.



The smell is not specific to any strain most times. the curing process which involves compressing in the case of skunk affects the odor that is produced when it is burnt. sativa and indica can be differentiated by their leaf. indica has broad leaves while sativa has thin narrow leaves


Tony Ikani

Well researched article! Big thumbs up.

We hope for legalization soon but it seems to be a far off concept as the leaders believe bogus ideas with no inch of research backing such as the statement by the ndlea chairman.



It's sad that these people who make all these policies behave or portray traits that indicate the use of harder and more dangerous substances like heroine and meth.
It would be better if marijuana is legalised and properly controlled because as far as the use of this substance goes, it is on the increase.



illiterate in power linking marijuana use to murder and rape... shame



you mouthed jare



Well, I came here to find out why my friends in the US seem to smoke the bud only while we be smoking the leaf. Our plants don't produce buds?



Very wise Sister, you know it's sad, they still provide us leaves in Naija, no advancement.



We smoke the buds here lady.. Where did you see leaf


Owerri grower

It's cuz here the grow both male and female plants so buds are small and full of seeds. Grow only female plants for large buds high in thc!



Free the herbs and sack that illiterate NDLEA boss he does not know what he is saying,typical mallam



just take a look at the person in charge of NDLEA, how can he be comparing weed to rape?


Pro Cannabis

The cure for the hate in the world is in the herb.



I grow my in my house so I don't need to buy leaf to smoke lol



how do you plant it I live in the northern region it doesn't grow here


Scarlet Palmer

Hi there,

Unfortunately, legal restrictions mean we can't answer grow related questions or give grow advice on this blog. However, we do have the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask questions and share your experiences with a thriving community of cannabis and gardening enthusiasts, so please don't hesitate to join the community!

With best wishes,




I’m gonna start growing actual weed in Nigeria not none of the SK shit or stuff u have with seeds in n shit. What u call loud in Nigeria. Looking to rent a big space solely for purposes of growin Uk bud



why do you do things like you don't smoke too, see if u legalize ganga in nigeria there would be more creative people in the country, u people can't understand hw the thinz are##



I think the way people view weed and its users in Nigeria is changing fast. More people (even in the older community) are beginning to understand that contrary to previous opinions, weed is not literally harmful after all. And also it's worth to mention that there are many strains in the country right now.

PS... I think Mr. NDLEA boss must have used marijuana back in the day and raped girls afterwards, and now he is shamefully blaming it on the ganja.




I think the way people view weed and its users in Nigeria is changing fast. More people (even in the older community) are beginning to understand that contrary to previous opinions, weed is not literally harmful after all. And also it's worth to mention that there are many strains in the country right now.

PS... I think Mr. NDLEA boss must have used marijuana back in the day and raped girls afterwards, and now he is shamefully blaming it on the ganja.



Leave a Comment

Please enter a name
Oops, looks like you forgot something?

Where |Nigeria

Capital |Abuja

Inhabitants |182202000

Legal Status |illegal

Medical Program |no