Exploring Challenges and Solutions to the Growing Cannabis Trend in Africa
As cannabis continues to become more accepted around the world, it is important to keep track of its use and popularity on every continent. Africa is the second-largest continent in the world, with an estimated population of over 1.2 billion people. As cannabis laws have become more relaxed in many African countries, their usage has been on the rise over the past few years. To better understand this phenomenon, let’s take a closer look at cannabis consumption in Africa and what it could mean for the future.
Africa is one of the leading suppliers of cannabis on a global scale. In 2005, it was estimated that nearly 10,000 metric tonnes of cannabis were produced on the continent, accounting for approximately 25% of all worldwide production at that time. Because of this overwhelming presence in Africa, authorities have taken measures to actively combat and seize these plants.
South African law enforcement agents made up 42% of all seizures in Africa. This represents, after Mexico and the US, the third-highest amount of cannabis herb seizures worldwide.
Cannabis grown in Africa is largely consumed on the continent. The drug is reportedly consumed by an estimated 38,200,000 adults in Africa each year (7.7% of the adult population), a number that is significantly higher than the 3.8% rate of cannabis consumption among people in the world between the ages of 15 and 64. Moreover, the continent produces a significant amount of its resin.
Over the period 1995–2005, a total of 19 out of 53 African countries reported the cultivation of cannabis on their territory. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated global cannabis herb production at 42,000 metric tons in 2005. Africa alone accounted for 10,500 metric tonnes or 25 percent of the total.
According to the national survey “Status of Drugs and Substance Use (DSU) in Kenya, 2022,” Nairobi has the highest prevalence of cannabis use (6.3%), Nyanza is second (2.4%), and the Coast region is third (1.9%).
The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Addiction (NACADA) conducted a survey that found that over the previous five years, the number of people who use cannabis nationwide has increased by 90%.
It is reported that about 518,807 Kenyans between the ages of 15 and 65 have used the substance in the past month.
Throughout the nation, it was shown that more men than women currently use marijuana.
According to the survey, “one in every 26 males aged 15 to 65 years (475,770) and one in every 333 females aged 15 to 65 years (43,037) were currently using the drug.”
The report claims that “low perception of harm due to myths, misinformation, and misconceptions” is the cause of the rising demand for cannabis, particularly among young people.
The numerous aspects of this difficult problem will demand specialised expertise in order to design appropriate and affordable solutions. With very few exceptions, the majority of the continent’s nations lack sufficient knowledge on the cultivation, transportation, and usage of cannabis. In order to better understand the problem and choose the most effective interventions from the range of available strategies (such as preventive education, trafficking interdiction, alternative development, eradication, etc.), UNODC advises that more emphasis be placed on data collection and analysis.
In the meantime, alcohol continues to be the most abused drug in the country, followed by cigarettes, khat, and cannabis, in that order.
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