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Cannabis laws in Ethiopia

Cannabis laws in Ethiopia

Table of contents

Medical: illegal 
Recreational: illegal

Ethiopia has a rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes – and a complex relationship with cannabis. 

Known locally as “dagga” or “chira,” cannabis has deep historical roots in Ethiopia. Traditionally, it has been used in various cultural and religious practices. However, with the global push for drug control in the 20th century, Ethiopia introduced more stringent regulations on cannabis.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control and Regulation Proclamation of 1996 classified cannabis as a narcotic substance. This legislation marked a shift toward stricter control, criminalizing the possession, use, and cultivation of cannabis.

Penalties for cannabis offenses in Ethiopia

Ethiopia maintains strict penalties for cannabis-related offenses. Possession, use, sale, or cultivation of cannabis can lead to significant legal consequences. The severity of penalties depends on factors such as the quantity of cannabis involved and the specific nature of the offense.

Individuals caught in possession of cannabis can face imprisonment, fines, or both. The penalties escalate for those involved in cultivation, distribution, or trafficking, with potential sentences ranging from several years to life imprisonment.

Medical cannabis in Ethiopia

Ethiopia does currently have specific legislation addressing the medical use of cannabis. The legal framework primarily focuses on strict control and prohibition. However, as the global conversation around the therapeutic potential of cannabis evolves, there may be room for future considerations regarding medical cannabis in Ethiopia.

CBD in Ethiopia

The legal status of CBD and other hemp-derived minor cannabinoids in Ethiopia is somewhat unclear. While CBD is not explicitly addressed in the country’s legislation, it is generally associated with cannabis. As a result, caution is advised, and individuals should seek legal guidance to understand the current regulatory stance on CBD products in Ethiopia.

Cultivating cannabis in Ethiopia is strictly prohibited. The government enforces measures to eradicate cannabis crops, viewing them as a threat to public health and a violation of international drug control agreements. However, due to the country’s vast and diverse landscapes, enforcement can vary, with some regions experiencing more challenges in eradicating illicit cannabis cultivation.

Bottom line on cannabis in Ethiopia

As of now, there is no clear indication that Ethiopia is moving toward the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. The current legal framework reflects a strict anti-cannabis stance, though there may be potential for discussions around policy reforms or considerations for specific use cases as global attitudes toward cannabis evolve.

Travelers and residents should be aware of and respect these laws to avoid legal consequences. Staying informed about any legal updates or changes is crucial for individuals navigating the complex landscape of cannabis laws in Ethiopia.

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