By The Conversation on August 28, 2023
Arriving at the tranquil village health facility in southwestern Nigeria, we were met by a small gathering of men – young and old – with thinly veiled excitement.
These rural farmers were visibly intrigued by our research interest in their experiences as proud growers of ewé ọlà (leaf of wealth), as they colloquially describe cannabis in the Yorùbá language. They had consented to meeting at the health facility because of its obscure location.
Cannabis is a heavily criminalised plant in Nigeria. It can get its growers, traders and users long prison sentences. The National Drug Law Enforcement Act prescribes an imprisonment of not less than 15 years for possession and use of cannabis. Yet its very illegality ensures high prices and makes it lucrative to grow.
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