Cannabis is distancing itself from its former days of prohibition and people are enjoying legalization – both medically and recreationally throughout North America and Europe. But what’s been going on in Africa?
While the world focuses most of its attention on the legalization of cannabis and CBD in certain countries like the United States, Canada, and Germany; Africa is a very overlooked and untapped market. To date, cannabis is illegal in Africa and the dire economic situation in most countries there doesn’t help matters. However, when it comes to cannabis, the African market could very well become one of the biggest within just a few years.
For starters, the climate for growing cannabis in Africa is ideal. Another factor to consider is the swelling populations on the continent. A new Prohibition Partners report is slating the African cannabis market to reach a cool $7.1 Billion by 2023. For now, cannabis grows widely in Africa and is used for a variety of reasons, from medical to recreational. According to the UN, more than 38,000 tons of cannabis is grown in Africa annually, but the only people who benefit from that are the black market players.
Until now, recreational cannabis use is prohibited across all 54 countries on the continent. Only Lesotho, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have a provision for medical cannabis, and that’s about it. In South Africa, for example, the doors to legal recreational cannabis were opened in 2017 when the Western Cape High Court ruled cannabis prohibition illegal; requesting changes to legislation within two years.
The medical cannabis program in South Africa is also growing nicely, but there’s still quite a way to go before that program to reaches fruition. In North Africa – in countries like Egypt and Morocco for instance – cannabis use is technically illegal but it’s tolerated, and use of it is usually not harshly penalized.
Cannabis legalization would be a real game changer in Africa, as it would create thousands of job opportunities which don’t exist at the moment. For example, according to the Morocco Network for Industrial and Medicinal Use of Cannabis, the black market there is valued at around $10 billion! In terms of the African market, on the whole, the main component of the market value lies in recreational legalization.
This fact has garnered significant interest from International cannabis investors who have a keen interest on the vast and swelling African market. The Prohibition Partners’ report is the first of its kind regarding the legal cannabis industry in Africa. The report also noted that due to cannabis being cultivated increasingly indoors in Africa, it’s mainly sold within the immediate region where it’s grown.
It remains to be seen precisely which way the tide will go in Africa vis-a-vis cannabis legalization in the near future. However, the new Prohibition Partners report sheds some light on the potential that Africa shows as a continent when it comes to cannabis.