Marijuana Use in West Africa - a Case for Decriminalization

An important report by the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD) in June 2014, "Not Just for Transit: Drugs, the State and Society in West Africa", emphasized decriminalizing some degree of narcotic drug use and possession for personal use, while calling for drug traffickers and their accomplices to face the full force of the law. This sensible recommendation is particularly appropriate for marijuana or cannabis, which is widely cultivated and used in West Africa. Its users, partly because they are mostly young and poor, continue to be disproportionately penalized by the criminal justice systems in the region - a serious human rights and governance problem. This violation must be urgently stopped.

On 9 November 2013, Liberia's Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) caused widespread sensation when it announced the apprehension of 10 bags of cannabis with a street value in Monrovia of $36, the Grand Cape Mount County. The drugs, intercepted while...

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