Israel’s Influence On Africa

Israel has never had to work hard to be at the center of cannabis news.

When your country was the first to discover THC as one of the main active components of marijuana, and then later use it to find treatments for autism, neuroblastoma, and Alzheimer’s disease, you’re going to attract attention.

Now, the land before time is unintentionally influencing other countries when it comes to cannabis reform.

Ayomide Tayo is a journalist and editor for Pulse Nigeria in Africa, and he recently wrote an editorial about Israel’s decision to decriminalize adult-use cannabis. In the piece, he questioned why Nigeria shouldn’t do the same. got in contact with Tayo to learn more about his country’s marijuana use, and if he sees any reform in sight.

“Nigerians, at least the Southern part of Nigeria is predominantly Christian,” Tayo said when asked why Israel would be an influence as opposed to others who have broader cannabis reform. “Israel is seen as God’s favourite country, therefore if Israel, which is revered as a holy nation can decriminalize weed, then what is Nigeria waiting for?” He went on to add that Nigerians generally see Israel as an example for the world.

Tayo said his country’s underground marijuana movement is quite large. “Nigerians [enjoy cannabis] especially young Nigerians. I might say more young Nigerians smoke weed than nicotine.” Despite the many marijuana enthusiasts in Nigeria, Tayo says that no one in the government nor other positions of power support it at all. “Marijuana is still illegal. No announcement has been made to decriminalize or use it for medicinal treatment.”

Tayo added the Nigerian Constitution states that growers and sellers can get up to 21 years in jail and smokers can get up to four years or the option of a fine. However, he said if you’re a user and caught by police a bribe will usually get you off the hook.

Although in the short term Tayo doesn’t see any marijuana reform happening in Nigeria, he believes the first order of business is information in order to head in that direction. “As a first step, [we should] publish papers proving marijuana can be used as medicine.”

Tayo in the future would love to see cannabis reform in his country but he is not holding his breath on that. “I hope so, but I won’t be surprised if the government doesn’t do anything.” This is one of the reasons he wrote the article, in an effort to bring attention to the issue.

Although Nigeria seems far off from the rest of the world when it comes to legalizing or even decriminalizing cannabis, Israel’s move is yet another example of how one country taking a leap on marijuana reform can influence others to do the same.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

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