Are weeds legal in Kenya?
Kenya is a fast growing country with a population that has grown by over 500% since 1960. With this growing population, a growing cannabis consumer base has emerged. Under the Kenyan Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, anyone in possession of a narcotic will be charged with a criminal offense ten years imprisonment. Weeds are not legal in Kenya and continue to be classified as a narcotic. Because of Kenya’s geographic location, monitoring the use and possession of cannabis has proven relatively pointless.
Even so, some Kenyan celebrities have shared their thoughts on legalizing marijuana, with the majority showing support. In an article by The Standard, Bahati, a Kenyan gospel artist didn’t shy away from supporting the legalization of cannabis.
“It is a God given plant that grows naturally. I don’t use it, but I have no problem with those who use it sensibly, ”he reveals.
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Marijuana Laws in Kenya
Possession of a narcotic or psychotropic substance is a criminal offense. For cannabis, the potential imprisonment period is:
10 years if it is proven that the property is intended for consumption, only 20 years for any other situation
Unsurprisingly, the sale of cannabis is strictly prohibited and this can justify it Life in prison. Add to this the potential fine of 1 million shillings (about $ 9,300 at the time of writing) or three times the market value of the drugs, whichever is greater.
Growing cannabis is illegal in Kenya. The fine for growing cannabis is 250,000 Kenyan shillings ($ 2,307 at the time of writing), or three times the street value of the drugs. If found to be grown, the land on which cannabis (or other drugs) is grown could be taken from the owner and returned to the government.
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CBD is also viewed as an illegal drug in Kenya that tourists visiting the country should be aware of. Even if you have a prescription, it doesn’t give you the legal right to bring CBD into the country.
What’s next for weed in Kenya?
The general attitude of Kenyans towards cannabis use is divided, with some showing support and others wary of the potential health risks. Today cannabis is mainly used by teenagers and young adults. Since most Kenyans consider cannabis a cultural taboo, users speak in slang and jargon.
That is why the code words used today such as ngwai, godey, kush and ndom were initiated. With high profile petitions including Ken Okoth’s proposed marijuana bill, there is no question that changes are still ongoing. Soon the Kenyan government could decriminalize cannabis thanks to public opinion and foreign influence. However, this has not happened until May 2021 and the legal status of weeds in Kenya remains unchanged.
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