Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Cannabis in Ghana is illegal without license from the Minister of Health,[1] but the nation is, along with Nigeria, among the top illicit cannabis-producing countries of West Africa.[2] Cannabis in Ghana is known as weed[3] or devil's tobacco (obonsam tawa).[4][2]


There are two main theories as to how cannabis came to Ghana:

  • Brought there by troops returning from India and Burma after World War II[5]
  • Spread by sailors coming down the coast, most likely from Sierra Leone[6][5]

The first report of illegal cannabis cultivation in Ghana occurred in 1960.[3]

In July 2023, the first relaxations of hemp policy in Ghana became apparent.[7] The government announced its intention to permit both industrial and medical usage in the future. Ghana is one of the first countries in Africa to follow the global trend of hemp liberalization.[8] Additionally, voices advocating for swift further liberalization are growing louder, emphasizing the benefits and additional revenue from tourism.


Cannabis remains the most popular illegal drug in Ghana.[9] Ghana is reported as the highest cannabis-using nation in Africa, and third in the world.[10]

In the 1990s, cannabis which had previously been an urban phenomenon in bars and nightclubs, had spread to rural areas as well.[11] Cannabis was associated with youth involved in Rastafari culture, and with students who believed cannabis use would improve their ability to study.[12]


Cannabis from Ghana is transported to other countries in western Africa, as well as to Europe.[11]


  1. ^ 'Cannabis is legal in Ghana but …' - Lawyer | General News 2016-02-27
  2. ^ a b Guy Arnold (13 May 2013). The International Drugs Trade. Routledge. pp. 183–. ISBN 978-1-135-45515-6.
  3. ^ a b Vera Rubin (1 January 1975). Cannabis and Culture. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 101–. ISBN 978-3-11-081206-0.
  4. ^ Akyeampong, Emmanuel (2005). "Diaspora and drug trafficking in West Africa: A case study of Ghana". African Affairs. 104 (416): 434.
  5. ^ a b Kima Cargill (1 December 2016). Food Cults: How Fads, Dogma, and Doctrine Influence Diet. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 222–. ISBN 978-1-4422-5132-8.
  6. ^ Chris Duvall (15 November 2014). Cannabis. Reaktion Books. pp. 99–. ISBN 978-1-78023-386-4.
  7. ^ "Ghana Passes Law to Allow Industrial Production of Cannabis". 2023-07-13. Retrieved 2023-08-10.
  8. ^ NewsGhana (2023-08-05). "The World Is Legalizing: The Story of a Global Change | News Ghana". NewsGhana. Retrieved 2023-08-10.
  9. ^ Anita Kalunta-Crumpton (3 March 2016). Pan-African Issues in Drugs and Drug Control: An International Perspective. Taylor & Francis. pp. 49–. ISBN 978-1-317-08433-4.
  10. ^ "Ghana is 3rd consumer of marijuana globally - Report". GhanaWeb. 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  11. ^ a b Paul V. Daly (July 1996). The Supply of Illicit Drugs to the United States: The Nnicc Report. DIANE Publishing. pp. 63–. ISBN 978-0-7881-3942-0.
  12. ^ EMMANUEL AKYEAMPONG; ALLAN G HILL; ARTHUR M KLEINMAN (1 May 2015). The Culture of Mental Illness and Psychiatric Practice in Africa. Indiana University Press. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-0-253-01304-0.