A spectre of cannabis is hovering above Africa. The boom is on the horizon and for some countries, it will be a slow burn.

A number of countries in Africa have in the recent past reformed their cannabis regulations – moving it away from being a prohibited drug to a source of income as an exportable commodity. This is motivated by the promise of riches, with many policymakers viewing the burgeoning cannabis industry as offering prospects for boosting rural economic growth and job creation.

It is thus not surprising that reforms in the regulatory regime have been championed mostly by politicians and lawmakers. This is in contrast to trends in advanced industrial economies such as Canada, the US, Germany, and Italy where citizens and private businesses have been the leading advocates for decriminalisation and legalisation of cannabis and its products. The large users of cannabis by value are in advanced industrial economies. They consume the product for medical, recreational and industrial purposes. Moreover, demographics play a part as many Western countries have ageing populations who often require medical attention.