Cannabis In Ethiopia

It is known that Ethiopia is the spiritual homeland of the Rastafarian movement, however, what many people do not know cannabis possession is in fact illegal in Ethiopia, and punishments can be harsh. The Drug Administration and Control Authority is the main body responsible for drug policy in Ethiopia and the police department responsible for enforcing this policy is the Ethiopian Federal Police Counter-Narcotic Division (EFPCND).

(Addis Ababa Bole International Airport)

Ethiopia is not a major producer of illicit drugs, but the key point of Entry and Exit is the airport at Addis Ababa that links the trafficking routes from Southern Africa and Asia and because of this, police routinely inspect flights arriving from high-risk origin points such as Bangkok, Karachi and Mumbai with the aid of sniffer dogs.

Cannabis use is prevalent and widely accepted and arrests for possession of cannabis are not unusual. Foreigners that are seeking to try local cannabis are advised to exercise caution since some foreigner are detained with no notification given to the relevant embassy or consular services. Though police with not bother someone smoking cannabis since they know it is harmless, some crooked federal police officers may try and scare you to for bribe money.

Cannabis possession sentences usually range from fines to short prison sentences.  However, for distribution and trafficking, penalties are more severe, ranging from five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 Ethiopian birr (around $6,100) to ten years’ imprisonment or even longer.

Ethiopia have been eradicating cannabis since the mid-1990s, and it is estimated that 320 hectares were destroyed in 1996, followed by further seizures over the subsequent years. Due to the massive lack of healthcare infrastructure, the majority of poor Ethiopians continue to use traditional remedies for illnesses. Cannabis is widely used by traditional healers, particularly to aid in the healing of wounds.

The government and media have been working to publicise and exaggerate the dangers of cannabis use as a response to the growing number of recreational users.  They have been promoting drug prevention and treatment programs.


The main areas of cannabis cultivation are Alemaya district of eastern Hararghe, Shebendia district of Sidamo, Shashemene district (and other areas) in Oromia region, and Debre Berhan district in Amahara region. In the 1960s, Rastafari immigrants from the Caribbean began to settle on land near Shashamane which had been set aside for them by Emperor Haile Selassie I. Subsequently Shashamane has become known for its cannabis cultivation, largely meant for local consumption.

Recreational use of cannabis appears to be increasing in Ethiopia, particularly among the urban youth, the unemployed, and the Rastafarian population in Shashemene and Addis Ababa which is responsible for a significant portion of the domestic cultivation and consumption of cannabis in Ethiopia.


There are plenty of places to score some bud in Addis Ababa and as long as you ask any rasta man where the dank is at.

Low grade: 50 grams for $5 USD

Mid grade: 40 grams for $10 USD

High grade: (CHRONIC,CHOCOLATE,ORANGE KALI) 50 grams for $20 USD

The cannabis in Addis is of a strong sativa and you can also find some indica strains. The herb here is the most organic and is grown under the 13 month sunshine that ethiopia is most famous for. One advice before coming here is that you must bring plenty of rolling paper since there is no cigarette paper or blunts.

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26 Feb 2018

By Anne Kristine Aguila