June 8, 2023

In May, a bill seeking to legalise the use of cannabis, popularly known as marijuana, for medical and cosmetic purposes, among other reasons, passed second reading at the house of representatives.

While leading a debate on it, Miriam Onuoha, sponsor of the proposed law, said Nigeria stands to gain a lot economically if it utilises the plant for different purposes.

The Imo lawmaker said cannabis could be used in up to 50,000 products and its oil is valued at over $200 million.

According to her, the use of cannabis would help the country address 10 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Mr. Speaker, Honourable Colleagues, at a closer look, cannabis can be used in about 50,000 products. As at 20th of March, 2020, the CBD oil market value is about 254.7 million USD and is expected to reach 1483.2 million USD by end of 2026, growing at a CAGR of 28.3% during 2021 to 2026,” she had said.

“The CBD oil value is about $668 per kilo. The logic behind [this] is that the longer a plant has been utilised, the more use cases of it become known. The utilisation of the entire plant creates its high economic value.

“By carefully examining the Global Sustainable Development Goals, we can ascertain a correlation between cannabis sativa and its relevance for the health and well-being of our society.

“Cannabis broad implementation scale enables us to address 10 out of 17 goals, (1, No Poverty; 2, No Hunger; 3, Good Health; 7, Renewable Energy; 8, Good Jobs and Economic Growth; 9, Innovation and Infrastructure; 10, Reduced Inequalities; 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities; 13, Climate Action; 15, Life on Land).

“For instance, let’s look at number 11 and 13, Sustainable Cities and Communities and Climate Action. The wood chips, a residue from cannabis stalks, are used for manufacturing healthy and sustainable building products with excellent thermal insulation properties and a lifespan of a hundred years.”

Currently, the use of marijuana is outlawed in the country.

According to a report released by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) in 2018, marijuana is the most consumed substance in Nigeria.

But in a brief chat with TheCable, the lawmaker said the good of the plant outweighs the bad by far, citing medical and cosmetic purposes.

Here are highlights of the bill:


Clause 2 provides that the bill, when passed into law, will be applicable “throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.


Clause 3 provides that “the relevant agencies shall; regulate the growth and use of cannabis, register cannabis growers and users, issue licences to cannabis growers, processors, and users.

“(1) Develop awareness programmes on the growth and use of cannabis, advise federal and state governments on matters relating to cannabis growers, producers, manufacturers and users, educate the masses on the healthy and unhealthy use of cannabis and undertake research and policy development on growth and use of cannabis.”


Clause 6(1) provides that the relevant agencies shall set up a licensing regime.

“6(2) the department set up under subsection 1 of this section shall have an office in all the thirty-six states including the federal capital territory (FCT) which shall be headed by assistant licensing manager.

“(3) The headquarters shall be situated in the federal capital territory where all other departments established in various states in the country shall be subjected to the operations taking place at the headquarters.”

“6(4) subject to subsection 2 of this section and upon the satisfaction of the conditions set out for registration under this act, the department of licensing may issue a licence to a person who satisfies the conditions set out in this act.

“6(5) a person applying for a licence shall be required to present to the department of licensing, certified copies of the following; National Identity Card, certificate of good conduct from the Criminal Investigation Department or DSS; and a recommendation from a medical practitioner of not less than five years experience.


Clause 7(1) provides that “a person may obtain a licence for cannabis for medical purposes only for matters relating to medical use and medical purposes.

“(2) A dosage of cannabis for medical use will be determined from time to time and amount required for a particular disease by a licensed medical practitioner or a licensed pharmacist.

“(3) A person shall not obtain a license for cannabis for medicinal use except in the following cases; an hospital whose medical practitioner has been duly licensed; or

“(b) A clinic or hospital which has been duly authorised, permitted and licensed to prescribe medicines for patients.

“7(4) A person shall not be issued with cannabis for medical use if such a person is without proof that he is either a medical doctor and intends to use it for medical purposes or a pharmaceutical company who intends to use an amount of cannabis which may be determined as required, in producing a medicine for the cure of a certain disease or an epidemic.

“7(5) Any person who contravenes the provisions of this section shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding two million naira.”


Clause 8(3) provides that “the cosmetic use of cannabis may include; (a) the mixture of cannabis into body creams; (b) hair creams; c) bathing soaps; or any other form in which cannabis may be used on the body for healthy skin and hair growth.”


Clause 9(1) provides that “a person shall not produce cannabis near the following places(a) a school; and (b) a place of worship.

“(2) a person who uses any building, ground or structure for the production of cannabis shall obtain an approval from the State Government.

“(3) a producer of cannabis shall take all necessary steps and action to prevent any disturbance to the environment.”


Clause 14(1) provides that “a person who contravenes the provisions of this part commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine not less than N5,000,000 (five million naira) or to both.

“14(2) any person who obtains licence for cannabis as envisaged in the preceding paragraphs but uses cannabis for any purpose other than as prescribed in the preceding sections such as for smoking and ingestion more than the dosage required, shall be liable upon conviction to not exceeding two years or a fine not less than N5,000,000 (five million naira) or to both.”

Clause 15(1)(a) amends the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency act CAP N30 LFN 2004 by deleting the word cannabis from the list of prohibited substances.

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