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Are African Countries Already Exporting ‘Weed’? NO!

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CLAIM: Some African countries are already exporting medical cannabis worth billions of dollars, says Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu



The Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, is not new to courting controversy—this time, it is about legalising marijuana (also known as weed or cannabis).

While speaking on behalf of the governor at a conference marking the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on July 22 2019, Boye Oyewumi, his special adviser, said:

There is no reason why Nigeria should not legalise marijuana. Some African countries are already exporting medical cannabis worth billions of dollars.”

Akeredolu had previously urged the federal government to consider legalising marijuana — citing its medicinal properties and market potential.

Ondo State is the largest producer of marijuana plants in Nigeria. We are not asking the government to set up bars where people come and abuse cannabis, rather we are asking the government to grant us license to cultivate medical marijuana for export.”


Our research shows that Gov. Akeredolu’s claim is NOT TRUE as only 3 out of the 54 countries in Africa have legalised the cultivation of marijuana for scientific and medicinal use and these countries have not officially started exporting it. The export of marijuana currently going on in Africa is through the black market, which is not “new” news. 

The three countries that have legalised the production of marijuana are Lesotho, Zimbabwe [for scientific and medicinal use] and South Africa [allowed to use, cultivate and grow the substance on their own property while dealing and/or smoking it outside the confines of your home remains illegal in South Africa].

But none of the countries have started exporting. Although, the United Nations estimates that more than 38,000 tonnes of cannabis are produced across Africa each year, this business worth billions(of dollars) is usually carried out on the black market.

Lesotho, in 2017, became the continent’s first country to offer legal licences to grow marijuana, signaling a shift towards more liberal policies.

Zimbabwe, became the second African countries to legalise the production of marijuana for scientific and medicinal use.

South Africa, became the third with recreational use being illegal, while private cultivation and consumption was decriminalised.

The other potential country is Uganda which is yet to legalise either the cultivation or recreational consumption of marijuana, but curiously claims to have got a stake in the lucrative business with an aim to generating revenue.

According to reports, Uganda landed deals to export medical marijuana products to Canada and Germany to the tune of 160 million US dollars in June this year. And received orders from about 20,000 pharmaceutical companies in Germany and Canada for the supply of marijuana.

It is also believed to have signed annual supply contracts with pharmaceutical firms in Canada to the tune of 100 million US dollars (Shs371.8b) and 58 million Euros (Shs242.3b) for Germany that will run for 10 years, although this is not confirmed.


This is a FALSE claim, as no African country has started officially exporting marijuana!

Ebere Agozie is a Senior Correspondent with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) with a staff strength of about 880, Joined in 2014 as a correspondent. Currently covering Agriculture and Environment beats from the headquarters of the Agency in Abuja. She had covered other beats including Culture and Entertainment, and Science and Technology, with reportage on different themes. Her works were aired on multiple networks through the NAN platform. She is also the winner of the 2018 COORDINATOR'S OPEN FORUM FOR AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY(OFAB) MEDIA AWARD FOR BEST PRINT REPORTER". Prior to joining NAN, she was the Operations Manager, AULIC Nigeria Limited, the concessionaire of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex - 2012; Head, Public Relations and Corporate Affairs, Aulic Nigeria Limited from 2009 to 2012. She rose from the position of the Public Relations Officer to Head of Public Affairs at FABER Expressions, a Radio/Television Production firm – 2000-2009. She is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Institute of Management and Technology(IMT), Enugu, (HND) -1998. And holds a Master of Business Administration(MBA) from the Lagos State University (LASU) - 2007.

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