Kenya Considers Full Decriminalization and Legal Medical Cannabis


Medical marijuana reform is quickly spreading to countries on every continent, and now, the wind of change has reached the Republic of Kenya.

The Kenyan Senate has been petitioned by Gwada Ogot, a writer and political analyst, to decriminalize marijuana for personal use and legalize it for medical and industrial purposes. The Senate has tasked the Committee on Health for the African nation to review and respond within 60 days.

If the petition is successful, cannabis, or Bhang as it is called in Kenya, will be removed from the List of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1994. Further to the proposed rescheduling, the petition asks that anyone currently serving jail terms for offenses related to marijuana be set free.

The proposal also suggests that a Cannabis Sativa Board of Kenya be established to oversee the production and distribution of marijuana for medicinal use.

During the debate process, Ogot will be asked to speak with members of parliament to review his position, in which he stated that the problem is not the plant itself but the law that criminalizes it.

The petition has also created some political controversy in Kenya; Senator Kennedy Mong’are surprised his fellow Senators when he admitted to using cannabis in his younger days.

Senator Mong’are, who is also a presidential hopeful, shared his cannabis experience while offering support of the petition. “Strict regulations don’t help. It is abused because of laws criminalizing it. The problem with Kenyans is living in denial,” he said.

It appears the petition is creating much debate, with Senators on both sides making passionate arguments for and against marijuana reform. Media coverage within Africa clearly cites the United States as a prime example of why marijuana should be decriminalized and cultivated for medical use.

As the 60-day deadline approaches, Kenyans are watching with anticipation to see if cannabis reform will not just be something they read about in other countries, it will be their reality as well.

Photo courtesy of Ninara

About Author

Jonathan Hiltz has been a journalist, a TV producer and marijuana advocate for over sixteen years. He has a wife, two young children and lives in the Toronto area.


  1. Geoffrey L. Lubia on

    Greetings, Tell Ogwada this my confession I was born with Chronic asmatic to 12 years all my childhood visitor in Hospitals all over when asthma Attack my System.
    1988 January I went to the Bush Dr. he gave me the weed and the asthma was gone lost .
    I am Back no sickness no stresses am a winner fighting asthma with my stock of weed am great full , Ogwada tell the Senate am Queried from asthma , living proof no asthma .
    Thanks Ogwada

  2. I very much applaud Ogot’s efforts and hope that he succeeds. Marijuana should at the very least be used medically in this country, if not recreationally in private premises. The drug should no longer be classified alongside illegal narcotics, opiods, and emphetamines.

  3. There are many people in our country suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Cancer and other painful disease to which CBD (cannabinol- an extract from Marijuana Sativa and/or Indica. THC- the psychotic extract can also be used for anxiety, depression and pain tolerance.
    We seriously need to consider helping those undergoing these medical problems as it would save millions of deaths, pain AND Shillings unneccesarily spent.
    I pray to our medical board that you may have not undergone suffering but you MUST be considerate to those who are, and assist them with this drug now proven to help millions all over the world.

  4. The benefits of cannabis out ways the negative part of the scale. Legalizing will help so many Kenyan, those with terminal diseases, business minded Kenyan, farmers, for research and traders. This will put Kenya in a map development, instead of borrowing money from Europeans.

    A good example is how Colorado state, USA. It turns out pot is a stronger economic driver than 90 percent of the industries active in Colorado.
    Legal weed created 18,005 full-time jobs and added about $2.4 billion to the state’s economy last year alone. Between the dollars that customers spend and the money business people invest in their crops and shops, pot is generating more wealth and activity than almost anything else on a pound-for-pound basis. Every dollar spent in the industry generates between $2.13 and $2.40 in economic activity. Only federal government spending has a higher multiplier.

    The 15 percent special excise tax on marijuana sales in Arizona’s legalization proposal would likely generate over $114 million in new tax revenue in 2019 and 2020, according to state fiscal analysts. That implies sales volume of over $760 million in two years, less than half the total revenue volume in Colorado’s first two years.

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