History of CBD and Cannabis In – Kenya
Cannabis legalization has seemingly taken over the world by storm, as dozens of governments across the world have moved to liberalize previously restrictive laws. As a result, many citizens are finding themselves able to enjoy cannabis without fear of legal processions, find a new cure way to address numerous illnesses and gain new employment opportunities.
However, that wave has not swept evenly across the world. Indeed, it has been largely concentrated in places like North America and western Europe. One such place is Kenya, where cannabis laws for individual users remain very restrictive, despite the fact that the country has a long history of cannabis use and cultivation.
History of Cannabis in Kenya
Cannabis consumption has been illegal in Kenya since the country was under British rule; the restriction actually dates back to the Opium Ordinance of 1914.
From a traditional perspective, cannabis has been used as medicine in addition to its more expected recreational uses. The Lou people – a tribe located in Kenya – used cannabis to speak with their ancestors.
Cannabis – commonly referred to as bhang – is used in Kenya by the population, so it is not as if the drug is unheard of. A 2009 survey found that 10.6% of all Kenyans used marijuana, and a survey from 2019 found that Kenya had the 6th highest rate of marijuana consumption in all of Africa. While the country is not overwhelmingly known for its cannabis use, other websites have referred to Kenya’s domestic cannabis market as “thriving” and noted that cannabis production has been going on for some time in more rural areas.
Legality of Cannabis & CBD in Kenya
All forms of cannabis consumption – recreational, medical or religious – are banned in Kenya. Furthermore, it appears that CBD is also illegal in Kenya, although at least one business seems geared towards selling CBD there.
Furthermore, marijuana possession has not been decriminalized in the country. This means that an arrest for possession can result in a criminal record. Furthermore, depending on the circumstances, arrested individuals can face a fine or jail time. Fines are often issued on the spot, and there is some speculation that, due to corruption, the money goes right into the pockets of the arresting police officer.
There have been the slightest of movements towards the legalization of marijuana in Kenya, however. In 2017, Kenya’s Senate Committee on Health was petitioned to decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana. The petitioner, Gwada Ogot, told Senators that marijuana should be decriminalized because of its medical and industrial potential. However, it appears that no movement was ever taken on the petition.