Guide to CBD and LAW in Africa

Ana Topshiova, Africa CBD Guide

Africa CBD Guide By – Ana Topshiova 

Top 3 take-outs of CBD in Africa

  1. CBD is very restricted in Africa
  2. You can buy CBD products in South Africa over-the-counter but must meet specific THC content limits
  3. Most African countries continue to ban any and all cannabis extracts — including CBD


Is CBD Legal in Africa?

  1. Algeria

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis (both marijuana and hemp) has been used in Algeria for centuries and this tradition continues to live today. However, cannabis and its products are explicitly prohibited. Possession of any amount of cannabis can bring a jail sentence of 6 months to 2 years. 



  1. Angola

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis — locally known as liamba or diamba — has been used by the natives for centuries and has a cultural significance for the country. The law prohibits cannabis cultivation, possession, and use due to the illicit trade of the plant. 



  1. Benin

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis and its products are illegal in Benin. 



  1. Botswana

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis — called motokwane in Botswana — is entirely unlawful for cultivation, possession, and use. 

Any individual caught in possession of less than 60 grams of cannabis can receive a sentence of 3 years imprisonment and a fine of 1000 pula ($92).

Laws might change soon as Botswana is influenced by South Africa and Zimbabwe, where CBD is legal for medical use and over the counter (S. Africa). Cannabis enthusiasts and organizations are advocating for hemp legalization.



  1. Burkina Faso

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis in Burkina Faso is illegal. 



  1. Burundi

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis — locally known as chanvre a fumer (hemp for smoking) — is enirely illegal in Burundi. Cannabis cultivation, transport, or possession can be penalized with fines as high as $100 000. 



  1. Cameroon

Verdict: Banned

Cameroon has a long history of cannabis use. Although illegal, the local population is growing, processing, and selling cannabis freely due to weak law enforcement and police control in some parts of the country. 

Women in Cameroon have used cannabis to relieve labour pain, and mixed parts of the plant in oil to use it as a hair tonic for growth.  

Today, Cameroonians use cannabis in various forms — people smoke it, consume it in food, and infuse it in drinks. 

In 2001, the BBC reported that Cameroon would legalize medical cannabis for HIV/AIDS and cancer treatment, and that cannabis medicines would be imported from Canada. The government hasn’t implemented any medical program and cannabis remains illegal. 



  1. Chad

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis is illegal in Chad. A United Nations report on cannabis in Africa from 2007 shows that although cannabis is illicitly grown in Chad, there haven’t been any seize actions since 2001. 



  1. Côte d’Ivoire

Verdict: Banned 

Cannabis in Ivory Coast is illegal.



  1. Egypt

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis has deep roots in the Egyptian culture — the plant has been used for centuries, and although banned, people use it even today. The Egyptians have used hemp as medicine as far back as 2000 BC. 

Today, cannabis is entirely illegal. Penalties on possession can be harsh, and smuggling large amounts of cannabis is punishable by death. 

In some parts of Egypt, people — aware of lack of law enforcement — consume cannabis in local cafes. This shouldn’t encourage you to purchase CBD — anything related to cannabis can put you in serious trouble. 



  1. Democratic Republic of Congo

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis in DR Congo is illegal, but it’s widely spread. The government has stated many times that they’re working hard to eradicate illicit cannabis plantations. However, DR Congo is known for its corrupt government, and cannabis and its derivatives remain illegal and highly uncontrolled.



  1. Equatorial Guinea

Verdict: Banned

In Equatorial Guinea, cannabis is called “the sacred weed of the people,” and is of great cultural importance. Cannabis and its derivatives are illegal, but the police are tolerant eve when people consume it publicly.



  1. Eritrea

Verdict: Banned

Like in most African countries, cannabis is outlawed in Eritrea. 

The country’s authority bodies are highly corrupt, and cannabis possession is often penalized with bribes and hefty fines. Smuggling larger quantities of cannabis can lead to lengthy jail time, hefty fines, and even property confiscation. 



  1. Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)

Verdict: Legal for Medical Use

Eswatini is one of the few African countries that changed their cannabis laws in the 21st century. 

In January 2019, the Eswatini government-licensed Profile Solutions Inc. to grow, process, and sell hemp for medical CBD in the next ten years.

Cannabis is widely grown in Eswatini by local farmers and smuggled to South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Europe. However, the licensed company remains the only farm to grow cannabis legally. 

The law is still in its establishment phase, and there are no details on how patients will acquire CBD. The regulation also mentions general fines and imprisonment in case of law violation, but these remain undefined. 



  1. Ethiopia

Verdict: Banned

Although research estimates that Ethiopia’s cannabis market has a potential of $9.8 billion, cannabis remains entirely illegal in the country. 

The plant is grown by locals illegally, but police continue their eradication actions

Possession of any type of cannabis could put you in jail for six months. 



  1. Gabon

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis in Gabon is entirely illegal. Any action related to cannabis could land you in prison for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 2 years, along with a hefty fine. 



  1. The Gambia

Verdict: Banned

Although cannabis has been grown and used in the Gambia for centuries, it is entirely illegal. Any action related to cannabis is penalized and can lead to jail time (up to 7 years) and a fine.



  1. Ghana

Verdict: Legal Grey Area – Restricted Lean

Ghana has an interesting cannabis history and culture. The West African country is the third-highest cannabis-using nation in the world and first in Africa. Cannabis has spread in Ghana in the 90s, mostly among young Rastafarians and students who believed cannabis would help them to study better and easier. 

On the other hand, cannabis is known as a plant of the devil — people are very religious in Ghana and don’t accept the use of cannabis (even hemp). 

Cannabis cannot be grown, sold, used, or imported without an authority’s permission. Patients can obtain a license from the Ministry of Health to use, cultivate, and import cannabis. However, cannabis is still not fully legalized for medical use and lives in the grey area. 

NOTE: Don’t risk importing illegal cannabis products in Ghana! 

Importing any cannabis-related product without a license by the Secretary for Health could land you a hefty fine or up to 10 years of imprisonment. 

It’s best to wait until local laws are defined and regulated with clarity.



  1. Guinea

Verdict: Banned

Any form of cannabis possession is illegal and can lead to severe penalties. 



  1. Guinea-Bissau

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis in Guinea-Bissau is outlawed but is grown and used by locals. Guinea-Bissau is used as a drug trafficking route between Latin America and Europe by Colombian drug cartels. Although Guinea-Bissau lacks law enforcement and police control, punishments for any cannabis-related action can be severe. 



  1. Kenya

Verdict: Banned

There have been discussions about the legalization of cannabis in Kenya, but nothing has changed yet. Any type of cannabis remains completely illegal.



  1. Lesotho

Verdict: Legal for Medical Use

Lesotho is Africa’s medical cannabis pioneer. CBD is legal for medical use and mustn’t contain more than 0.03% THC.

Cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes is legal only with a government-issued license.



  1. Liberia

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis is outlawed in Liberia.



  1. Libya

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis is entirely illegal in Libya, and any action related to it can be severely punished.



  1. Madagascar

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis in Madagascar is entirely illegal — but is widely used among the population. Most reports suggest that cannabis, including CBD, is rarely enforced within the countries’ borders. This is usually the first step before legalization or decriminalization is discussed by local government. 



  1. Malawi

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis is prohibited in Malawi. Hemp supporters are advocating for hemp legalization, but anti-drug activists consider this a threat and say that marijuana growers would abuse the law. 



  1. Mali

Verdict: Banned

Due to Mali’s status of a drug trafficking country, any action related to cannabis is considered a violation of the law and can be severely punished. 



  1. Mauritania

Verdict: Banned

Mauritania is known as the transit point for cannabis smuggled from Morocco to Europe. Cannabis is outlawed, and possession for personal use is punished with a maximum of two years imprisonment and a $140-$280 fine. Individuals caught with cannabis are reported to health authorities and sent to mandatory detoxification.



  1. Morocco

Verdict: Banned

Morocco is one of the African countries with the longest history of cannabis use, and Moroccans consume it even today. 

Cannabis is outlawed, but it’s partially tolerated in the country — Morocco is one of the leaders in hashish production.

There’s been an ongoing debate among politicians and governing bodies for cannabis and CBD legalization, but laws remain unchanged. 

Although banned by the drug law from 1974, the government allows farmers to have small cannabis farms in the Rif region. Cannabis is also openly sold to tourists and exported to Europe. 

You can find cannabis and CBD in Morocco, but this doesn’t mean that it’s legal — penalties on drug possession and use are harsh and can lead to hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences (5 to 10 years). 

Refrain from buying illegal cannabis products in Morocco.



  1. Mozambique

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis is banned in Mozambique but widely used by locals. However, possession of cannabis can lead to hefty fines — there’s a lot of corruption in Mozambique, and individuals caught in cannabis possession often pay a bribe to avoid an arrest.

As a cannabis derivative, CBD is also prohibited. 



  1. Namibia

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis — locally called dagga — is prohibited by law. Rastafarians and other cannabis supporters have been advocating for cannabis and CBD legalization, but nothing has changed. Possession of any amount of cannabis can lead to a prison sentence. 



  1. Niger

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis in Niger is outlawed, though grown by locals and drug traffickers. The law is stringent, and any action related to cannabis (including possession and use) can be penalized with 5-10 years of prison and fined with $2000 to $4000.

CBD is illegal. 



  1. Nigeria

Verdict: Banned

The Indian Hemp Decree No.34 prohibits cannabis in Nigeria from 1975. Use and possession of cannabis can bring a jail sentence for not less than six months, and a fine of $300.

CBD is a cannabis derivative and therefore, it’s illegal.



  1. Rwanda

Verdict: Banned

The law in Rwanda prohibits any action related to any type of cannabis. Penalties can be severe, with up to 5 years of imprisonment and a $500 fine. In 2010, the Ministry of Health proposed a bill for the legalization of medical cannabis, but it seems that the bill stays up in the air. 

There’s no specific law that regulates CBD, but as a cannabis derivative, it is illegal. 



  1. Senegal

Verdict: Banned

Despite its cultural and economic importance, cannabis in Senegal is prohibited by law. Many locals defy prohibition and grow cannabis illegally. Cannabis possession and public use can lead to an arrest.



  1. Sierra Leone

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis and CBD are outlawed in Sierra Leone, and possession of cannabis in any form can lead to a prison sentence of up to 5 years. 



  1. Somalia

Verdict: Banned

Some reports show that locals in Somalia use hemp for its seeds for food, and hashish. By law, any use of cannabis is illegal. 



  1. South Africa

Verdict: Temporarily Permitted

In South Africa, medical CBD products have been legal for some time already. In May 2019, Aaron Motsoaledi, the then Minister of Health, changed the Medicines and Related Substances Act of 1965 by removing CBD compounds from the list of harmful substances. 

The new law, valid until the end of May 2020, allows the sale and use of CBD products over-the-counter. 

To be considered legal in South Africa, hemp supplements must:

  • Contain a maximum daily dose of 20 milligrams of CBD
  • Alternatively, if the CBD product is made from raw cannabis, it cannot contain more than 0.001% of THC and no more than 0.0075% total CBD
  • CBD products cannot be advertised as a cure or treatment for any disease

Buying CBD products that don’t remain within the limits listed above require a prescription.



  1. Sudan

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis is entirely illegal in Sudan, and possession of any form of cannabis can lead to a prison sentence of 7 years.



  1. Tanzania

Verdict: Banned

CBD in Tanzania is not differentiated from cannabis and is therefore illegal, just like the plant. Possession of 50 grams of cannabis, and 5 grams of hashish can lead to a prison sentence of 3 years, and a fine of $500. 



  1. The Central African Republic (CAR)

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis in the CAR is illegal. 



  1. The Congo

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis is entirely illegal. 



  1. Togo

Verdict: Banned

Cannabis is entirely illegal in Togo, and possessing even a small amount of any form of cannabis could lead to a jail sentence.



  1. Uganda

Verdict: Banned

Uganda is producing hemp for medical purposes — but only for export. CBD and other cannabis-based medicines remain unavailable and illegal for locals. 



  1. Zambia

Verdict: Banned

CBD in Zambia is not regulated with a specific law, but as a derivative of cannabis, it’s entirely illegal.



  1. Zimbabwe

Verdict: Legal for Medical Use

Cultivation of low-THC hemp is legal, and CBD is authorized for medical use. Despite the country’s progressive move, there is still no medical cannabis program, and patients don’t know how to apply for a medical permit for CBD. 



We’ll update you if there are any future changes on how to obtain medical C

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