Although weed is illegal in Nigeria, the country holds the world’s third highest consumer of cannabis.
Cannabis, also known as weed or marijuana, is illegal to possess or use in Nigeria, and offenders face harsh penalties.
Despite the strict laws, cannabis use remains prevalent in Nigeria, especially among young adults who are frequently caught in possession of it.
Nigerian musicians also promote its usage by incorporating it into their lifestyle and music videos.
Can one be sentenced to death for growing weed in Nigeria? Yes. One can be sentenced to death for growing cannabis in Nigeria. This is because cannabis is classified as a dangerous drug under the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act. Section 11 of the NDLEA Act states that any person who, without authorisation, cultivates or processes plants that produce narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances commits an offence punishable by death.
It specifically states that “any person who knowingly plants or cultivates any plant of the genus cannabis shall be sentenced either to death or to imprisonment for a term of not less than 21 years.”
Despite this, cannabis is grown widely throughout the country most cultivation taking place in states like Edo, Ekiti, Delta, Ondo, Osun, Ogun and Oyo.
The death penalty for cannabis cultivation is a controversial topic. This harsh penalty is in line with Nigeria’s historical approach to drug offences, which the government views as a threat to public health and safety.
Critics argue that this law is excessive and inhumane. They question the appropriateness of such a severe punishment for a crime that, in many parts of the world, is being decriminalised or legalised.
The global shift toward more lenient approaches to cannabis, recognising the plant’s medicinal and recreational uses, has not changed Nigeria’s stance on the matter.
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, made the move to establish a medical cannabis program in 2019, but the Nigerian NDLEA has yet to grant a license or approval to any person or corporate organisation for the cultivation and production of medical cannabis.
Why is cannabis cultivation illegal in Nigeria?
Brigade General Buba Marwa (RTD), Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has said cannabis cannot be legalised because drugs have been the driver of high crime rates and violent killings, according to research.
Some other reasons cited by the Nigerian government for the illegality of cannabis cultivation include:
Cannabis is a psychoactive drug that can alter a person’s mood, perception, and behaviour. The government believes that this can lead to dangerous consequences, such as impaired driving, accidents, and violence.Cannabis use is associated with other health problems, such as respiratory problems, mental health problems, and cardiovascular problems. To the NDLEA, these health problems can put a strain on the healthcare system.
As we already know, cannabis cultivation is legal and beneficial in many countries around the world. Now, given the widespread use of cannabis in Nigeria, and the legalisation of cannabis in many parts of the world, one might wonder if the Nigerian government would consider reviewing its drug laws and reducing the penalties for cannabis cultivation.
Only time will tell.