This is the second in a three-part AFKInsider series ranking African countries for tolerance to marijuana. The weed is ingrained in African tradition, recreation and economies, but illegal throughout the continent. You can find the first article in the series here.
Marijuana is illegal throughout Africa but deeply ingrained in African tribal traditions, recreation and economies. Tolerance and enforcement vary from country to country.
The U.S. state of Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana a year ago, and it’s reaping the financial benefits from legal marijuana sales. If all 50 U.S. states legalized marijuana, they stand to gain more than $3 billion in tax revenue collectively, according to the personal finance site NerdWallet.
The website Marijuana Travels ranks 260 countries including at least 42 African countries for tolerance to marijuana. Countries are ranked from 1 — highly prohibited — to 10 — legal. Rankings include on-the-ground information on enforcement. The site appears to be updated regularly, in some cases, daily. The home page says the site was created to inform viewers of conditions affecting marijuana, which can change daily and sometimes hourly.
We’ve ranked 17 more African countries for marijuana tolerance in Part 2 of a three-part series.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Algeria has a smoking tolerance level of 2.
The use of marijuana in Algeria is strongly prohibited. The country is very clear on where it stands. The police in the country are all doing a fine job ensuring that anyone caught trafficking is punished.
There’s a good record of captured drug trafficking barons such as Zendjabil Abdelkader who was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The punishment for anyone caught drug trafficking can mean long jail time.
That said, the southern part of Algeria is still being used as a route to move cannabis in and out of the country. Neighboring Morocco is known for being one of the top exporters of quality cannabis.
Algeria is one of the top five countries in Africa forest high rate of confiscated cannabis resin.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Malawi has a smoking tolerance level of 2.
Malawi gold, aka Chamba, is known all over Africa as one of the finest pure African sativas. It is so famous in the Malawi economy that it is listed as one of the three “Big C’s” in Malawian exports — chambo’ (tilapia), chombe (tea) and chamba (Malawi Gold), according to Potseeds.
Malawi does not, however, tolerate purchase, trafficking and possession. There are severe punishments for people caught smoking pot, buying from the locals, selling their own variety and possessing marijuana.
The Malawi Police are not really very interested in confiscating possessions and sniffing for marijuana. They are more interested in the cannabis being exported. Their anti-drug units are busy looking for cannabis to confiscate before it leaves Malawi.
Malawi citizens are trying get marijuana legalized. In Malawi, marijuana is called dagga.
Sources: MarijuanaTravels, Potseeds
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Djibouti has a smoking tolerance level of 2.
Marijuana is prohibited in Djibouti, as are all activities associated with it. There are no medical marijuana programs, and no legal possession limits. It is just plain illegal. The police can be corrupt, and it is wise to not even think about smoking marijuana in this country.
The Djibouti people are fairly friendly, but the police are not. The police are very interested in foreigners. It is an Islamic country and laws against marijuana offenders can be very harsh.
There is a strongly narcotic leaf called khat in this country that is legal. Be careful though, this stuff is very strong and should be taken in very small amounts at first in order to get used to it. It can be found everywhere and is sold in stores.
Hash can be found in Djibouti, but it is a pretty poor grade stuff.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Côte d’Ivoire has a smoking tolerance level of 4.
Marijuana as illegal here and while laws in Cote D’ Ivoire are strict, the police aren’t. However, there are some officers who will put you in jail if you get caught smoking weed in public.
Weed here is cheap and you can get it in bars and on the streets. “Just have with you your dealing skills and you’ll be fine,” says a poster on MarijuanaTravels.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Guinea has a smoking tolerance level of 4.
In the Republic of Guinea marijuana is illegal. This goes for cultivating, growing, trafficking, selling, using or possessing.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Eritrea has a smoking tolerance level of 5.
Cannabis is illegal in Eritrea and so are the activities related to it.
However, law enforcement and the cops are lax and can be bribed. Marijuana is sold in the streets. This is one of the poorest countries in the world so be careful because they’ll try to rip you off, according MarijuanaTravels.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Cameroon has a smoking tolerance level of 5.
Growing marijuana in Cameroon for any reason is illegal. AIDS and cancer patients are allowed to use marijuana for their diseases but they are not permitted to grow it.
The police in Cameroon are not that strict but you have to be very careful because tourists don’t want to get in trouble in a foreign country. While there are a lot of good cops, there are also those who don’t like foreigners who break the law.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Madagascar has a smoking tolerance level of 5.
Madagascans cultivate marijuana and the island nation also has wild varieties. Cannabis is mostly used for domestic consumption but it is illegal. The penalty for offences will likely result in imprisonment. Even a small amount on your person is a criminal offense.
In case you are imprisoned, you need to call your embassy immediately because Madagascar law enforcement will uphold charges for trafficking, possession and use of marijuana, according to MarijuanaTravels.
Madagascar is filled with nooks and crannies for marijuana, but also with prying eyes and wagging tongues. Some locals might try and get you interested in their “wares” and allow you to taste their own variety of cannabis.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Benin has a smoking tolerance level of 6.
Benin is considered a transit point for cannabis and it’s believed that marijuana moves around via the international airport in Cotonu. However, the Benin government does not assist or encourage the illegal production and sale of marijuana. A person caught smoking, in possession or selling any amount can face penalties.
Law enforcement resources are inadequate in Benin. In 1995 the goverment asked the U.S. to provide assistance to pursue stronger action against marijuana traders.
Marijuana is widely cultivated in central Benin Benin for regional sale and local consumption. Activities of cannabis traders remain discreet.
Authorities still lack resources to fight against cannabis trading. Although the overall efforts against illegal production and sales are inadequate, this should not be a reason for anyone to smoke weed in public or sell it in open.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Cape Verde has a smoking tolerance level of 6.
Although marijuana and the use of it is illegal in Cape Verde and all of her cities or principalities, the attitude of law enforcement is very relaxed toward consumption, as long as you are not intrusive or overly obvious. Common sense applies.
Marijuana is an illegal substance in Cape Verde. Penalties for getting busted are pretty light.
There is a lot of marijuana available in the country.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, The Gambia has a smoking tolerance level of 6.
Possession of cannabis is illegal in Gambia. In this country, marijuana grows naturally. It has been used as recreational medicine in Gambia for centuries. Carrying, smoking, growing and selling are illegal and a person caught doing any of these activities could be penalized.
Depending on the violation, a person caught could be imprisoned (with or without labor) for up to seven years and/or a fine. Police sometimes set up road blocks.
Tai or colo are the local names of marijuana in Gambia.
In a year, a grower can have three marijuana harvests. Because of its low production costs and strong availability, the use and sales of cannabis are widespread in Gambia. The penalties imposed are harsh.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Lesotho has a smoking tolerance level of 6.
Marijuana grows everywhere in Lesotho. You can find it in small plots in the capital city, Maseru. It is illegal to grow or to posses any amount but law enforcement is weak here.
The cops don’t care much about the people who use, carry or grow marijuana. While there are some raids, those are done to big-time dealers only. Cops don’t care that much about small-time smokers and dealers.
Lesotho produces large quantities of cannabis, called matekoane in Sesotho, the language spoken in Lesotho. Although there is a domestic consumer market, Lesotho basically grows cannabis to supply the large South African market. Cannabis production represents one of the country’s three main sources of hard currency, the other two being international aid and the wages sent home by Basotho miners working in South Africa.
Source: MarijuanaTravels, UKcia.org
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Liberia has a smoking tolerance level of 6.
Marijuana is illegal in Liberia as are any related activities. Liberia is both a transit point for drug trafficking (that includes weed) from South America to Europe and a marijuana producer grown by small-scale farmers.
Liberian law enforcement against marijuana is weak. The lack of budget to fight marijuana means marijuana production is rampant in the country.
You can buy marijuana almost anywhere in Liberia. Even if the cops aren’t that strict, they can still send you to jail.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Burkina Faso has a smoking tolerance level of 8.
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world and like any other poor country, it’s crawling with drug traffickers. Cannabis abuse is a problem and law enforcement authorities take their job seriously.
According to the police in Burkina Faso, almost 20 percent of the young adult population has either tried marijuana or other drugs.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Congo has a smoking tolerance level of 8.
War is to blame for the boom of weed in Congo. Weed is used to raise some funds for the war. If you smoke weed in Congo, nobody cares, according to MajijuanaTravels.. But if you are a tourist, do it discretely.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Equatorial Guinea has a smoking tolerance level of 8.
In the former Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea, marijuana is illegal but people smoke it publicly and the police don’t seem to care. This West African country is the only one in Africa where Spanish is the official language.
Marijuana was originally smoked only during traditional ceremonies but now everything has changed, according to MarijuanaTravels. Marijuana is all things to all men in Equatorial Guinea. It is smoked all the time everywhere and even in the streets. Marijuana is a part of the culture.
There are a lot of tourists who buy in bulk here. Marijuana is called “The Sacred Weed” in Equatorial Guinea. They love it a lot and it is part of their culture. According to Weed.wiki, to date there are no records of a cannabis-related conviction in Equatorial Guinea.
Just remember this: officially it’s illegal.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = highly prohibited and 10 = legal, Guinea-Bissau has a smoking tolerance level of 8.
Marijuana is prevalent in Guinea Bissau. The military has long been suspected of having a history of drug trafficking. There are laws against marijuana but enforcement is very lenient.
The police are generally lenient and tolerant to those arrested in connection with marijuana. The possible reason is that upper-level members of the law enforcement hierarchy are among those who patronize and know about the business. Cocaine is the major problem in this area.