Powerful Countries Used These 4 Tactics to Make Weed Illegal

Several anthropologists in the past decade have discovered cannabis residue on ancient Jewish altars. Europeans living in the 11th century used marijuana as an aesthetic for toothaches. How come our ancestors got along well with cannabis but our generation deemed it illegal? Let’s find out.

Origins of Cannabis

1. Central Asia

Powerful Countries Used These 4 Tactics to Make Weed Illegal

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Scientific analysis suggests that countries such as China, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan used the cannabis plant since 8,000 BC. In fact, the Chinese invented paper using hemp fibers. A few religious ceremonies called for the burning of marijuana to enhance spiritual connection with deities.

2. How it spread across the world

Cannabis made its way to East Africa courtesy of the Monsoon trade. During the 18th century, Indian traders would travel to Kenya and Tanzania’s coasts. They traded cannabis with other items such as animal hides and game trophies. Locals who received cannabis began growing it and sharing seeds generously.

Europe’s history with cannabis can be traced back to the 5th century. Most of it came from central Asia where Vikings frequently explored. During this period, Greek doctors used marijuana to treat inflammation.

Factors that led to Marijuana’s stigma as a narcotic globally

1. Colonialism

Britain colonized several African countries and India between the 18th-20th centuries. These colonialists, bent on making life unbearable, snatched away any form of luxury from natives. That’s why British colonies forbade cannabis cultivation and consumption.

British colonies forbade cannabis cultivation and consumption

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Most countries in Africa are still using outdated laws established during colonial regimes. This means that cannabis is still illegal until countries either go for a referendum or implement new constitutions.

2. Limited medical infrastructure

When you look at countries that are yet to catch up with the wave of marijuana legalization, one character stands out. More than 50% of them are either developing or third world nations. Also, they have insufficient medical infrastructure. That’s because most colonialists focused on investing in industries at the expense of national health.

Poorly developed medical infrastructure makes it impossible to conduct research on the effects on cannabis. So, most medical experts in underdeveloped countries resort to relying on published cannabis reports from the USA and Europe. Unfortunately, some of the information is skewed to present cannabis negatively.

3. Attaching strings to donor funds

Have you ever had to tolerate someone you don’t like because you need them more than they need you? That’s what third world nations go through when approaching global superpowers for donor funds. It’s no secret that some donor countries are notorious for attaching strings to government loans.

 Attaching strings to donor funds

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Over reliance on donor countries is the main reason why African countries and developing nations across Asia cannot amend their cannabis laws. Trying to go against the grain would mean potentially losing out on millions of dollars from donors.

4. The United Nations enforced the ban on marijuana

During the 80’s, the United Nations enforced a global campaign against illegal drug use. While the intention was noble, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances classified cannabis as a Schedule 1 narcotic. This category is for drugs that have a high potential for addiction and almost zero medicinal value.

Initially, developing nations from Africa, South America, and Asia resisted the convention. However, America and wealthy European countries exerted their economic influence to convince them otherwise. At least 183 nations have committed themselves to enforcing the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

Final thoughts…

When you look at how ancient civilizations used marijuana, it’s clear that they weren’t experimenting. That’s why cannabis spread easily from one continent to the next because people valued its diverse benefits. The only catalyst for legalizing marijuana in developing nations is gaining total financial dependence from former colonial masters.

How Kisumu Residents Are Tapping Into Marijuana’s Healing Properties

Kisumu has established itself as a tourist attraction that was once a humble fishing town by the shores of Lake Victoria. It’s also the only place where residents use cannabis to treat Chickenpox, Dysentery, Measles & Rabies. Does this treatment work effectively? 

How Kisumu Residents Are Tapping Into Marijuana's Healing Properties

Is medical cannabis legal In Kenya?

The cultivation or use of marijuana in Kenya is illegal. However, the future seems optimistic after the government approved GoIP’s license to grow medical cannabis in western Kenya. A section of qualified doctors have lobbied for the legalization of medical marijuana to make cancer treatment in Kenya affordable. 

Why do Kisumu residents prefer using cannabis as medicine?

1. It’s part of the traditional medicine culture

Traditional healing is still active and highly sought after in Africa. A variety of indigenous herbs and trees with medicinal properties grow in western Kenya thanks to the favorable climate. Studies show that traditional doctors in Kisumu have prescribed cannabis to patients for several decades and witnessed success.

Parents with children below 15 years have claimed that their children got cured off measles after administering boiled cannabis. The traditional doctor boils cannabis buds, stems, and leaves then uses the concoction to treat dysentery.

2. Highly affordable compared to visiting a hospital

Kisumu has approximately 250,000 fishermen however most of them struggle financially. This is mainly attributable to the lack of fisheries and insufficient government funding. To the average fisherman, going to a hospital is quite expensive compared to traditional medicine. However, the market seems to be attracting new customers due to tough economic situations. In the recent past, traditional healers have prescribed cannabis to children from middle-class communities. 

3. Scarcity of well-equipped hospitals

Kisumu county has only two public hospitals situated near the business district. The private medical sector consists of clinics that are either too far or expensive to local residents. As if not enough, the lack of roads makes traveling to hospital a nightmare to patients.

Bad roads in Kisumu City
Bad roads in Kisumu City

These infrastructural and medical challenges position traditional medicine men as the better option for patients. 

Possible future trends of medical marijuana in Kisumu

1. Higher demand for traditional medicine men due to COVID19 economic effects

COVID19 has hit the global economy hard resulting in massive unforeseen layoffs. In addition, some people are hesitant towards going to hospitals for fear of contracting COVID19. The current situation will make parents opt for traditional medicine because it’s affordable.

2. Increased lobbying for medical marijuana

In some cases, a traditional healer blows smoke continuously on the child’s face. This practice seems unsafe because it poses a high risk of COVID19 transmission. Doctors will definitely lobby for construction of more hospitals.  They will also push the government to allocate resources for medical research on how cannabinoids fight measles.

Winding it up…

Kisumu’s underground medical marijuana industry has existed for several decades with zero government intervention. Perhaps this is the best time for Kenya to pioneer cannabis medical research in Africa by providing resources to study how cannabinoids interact with chickenpox and measles. 

Take a look at landrace sativa strains from Western Kenya and East Africa.

My First Time Growing Weed

Every stoner has dreamt of growing ganja. Some don’t mind tending to a couple of plants because there’s immense satisfaction in smoking what you grew. Let me take you back to February 2014 when I took this bold step…

Outdoor grow

Back in 2014, I and a close friend decided to grow a few plants in his large backyard. February is usually a sunny month with moderate temperatures, so the good weather motivated us. Plus, this was in an upmarket neighborhood where there paid more attention to their mansions than neighbors. 

Growing Isibania Sativa 

Isibania is a small town located in western Kenya. It’s a border point between Kenya and Tanzania but also has a reputation of weed cultivation. 

So, how did I get this strain? My past dealer was born and raised in Western Kenya. He was once a long distance truck driver and his former colleagues helped him get pounds from Isibania to Nairobi. 

Germination

The possibility of growing our own weed was so exciting that we didn’t do any research on how to germinate marijuana seeds. I grabbed the nearest empty bucket, filled it up with soil, and threw in my seeds.  

Out of the five seeds I planted, three made it seedlings. My buddy and I made the mistake of overwatering the seeds because we expected results within two days but it took around four. To make matters worse, we planted more seeds in another bucket and repeated the mistake.

Vegetation

After seeing the seedlings, I told my dealer what I was up to. He told me that Isibania Sativa matures after 5-6 months. Honestly, I thought it would only take around three months but nature moves at its own pace.

During the first month, we observed the seedlings growing taller by simply watering them every morning. Around the third week, our plants had grown to 1.5 feet. At this point, the young leaves had developed into the trademark leaf. 

Bad pruning

Unfortunately, neither me nor my accomplice knew how to prune cannabis plants. Our method was based on fear of drawing attention to our grow op. We chopped off the apical buds because we didn’t want our plants to get too tall to hide conveniently. Did this pruning method work?

Credits: Getty Images.

Despite our ignorance on the important roles of apical buds, our marijuana plants didn’t show any deterioration. Our pruning approach made the plants divert more nutrients to their branches. Little did we know that we were actually slowing down growth by making our plants waste nutrients on unnecessary branches.

Flowering

June 2014 marked the fourth month of our grow op. At this point, we had to uproot two plants because it got a bit crowded in one of our growing buckets. It was hard to water all the plants evenly due to the excess branches as a result of bad pruning.

Fueled by blind optimism, our projections pointed to an early harvest around mid July. Since most of our neighbors practiced dairy farming, it was easy to get a handful of fresh cow dung every two weeks. This rich organic manure comes in handy when your plants have yellow and droopy leaves. 

On the 1st of July, our cannabis plants had grown to 5 feet in height. The stem and branches that were once green,flexible, and weak grew bigger and became woody. You could see small buds developing on the apex branches. Also, the leaves and branches left your hands smelling like cannabis after touching them. 

Wrong projections

As time progressed, our marijuana plants began shedding some of the leaves. This affected branches growing at the bottom of the canopies. Leaves would gradually turn brown then shrivel up. 

Our hopes of harvesting around 14th July got dashed after monitoring the slow development of Isibania Sativa buds. My co-farmer suggested adding more manure but my dealer warned me about the high possibility of corroding the roots due to excess nitrates. So, we continued with our daily watering routine while paying attention to the buds.

Harvesting time!

Despite our inaccurate projections, my friend and I exercised patience. At this point, the terpenes on our plants were so strong that you could smell weed from about five feet away. We also noticed that buds growing on branches close to the base turned brown. Also, most of them were the size of popcorn nugs.

After 5 months of trial and error, our Isibania Sativa was mature. The plants had grown 6 feet tall and the branches formed dark green bushes. Also, the buds were prominent and averaged around three inches. Generally, they were light green in color and had a strong earthy taste.

Hindsight

One of the biggest mistakes we made from the jump was poor research on how to grow marijuana. 

How did this affect our yield? Well, our incorrect pruning approach made the plants waste nutrients nourishing unnecessary branches. As a result, about 80% of our buds were wispy because they were undernourished.

 Also, we could have harvested bigger and better buds if we grew each plant in its own bucket to avoid unnecessary competition of water and nutrients. It’s also very likely that as our plants grew older, their roots might have entangled because the buckets were shallow .

Winding up…

Growing weed for the first time is awesome because watching your seeds growing consistently is quite fulfilling. Despite the unappealing appearance of our cannabis, my friend and I had enough weed to smoke for two weeks. However, the biggest lesson I learned was always do sufficient research before growing ganja.

Could Shashamane Sativa be The Rare Lambs Bread?

Shashamane sativa from Ethiopia is really popular in East Africa. Some seasoned stoners even rank it at the same level as Malawi Gold. Well, is this strain a true landrace of Abyssinia or did the Jamaicans invited by Haile Selassie introduce it in East Africa?

What is Lamb’s Bread?

When Bob Marley released Ganja Gun in 1977, he was paying an ode to his favorite cannabis strain-Lamb’s Bread. Cannabis historians believe that it’s a landrace sativa from an undisclosed location in Jamaica. A true landrace known for its earthy and citrus flavors.

This strain got popular around the 70’s and 80’s but disappeared around the 90’s. Some people believe that the rise of heavy hitters such as Jamaican Dream and Marley’s Collie overshadowed its popularity.

How does it look like? It has dense midsize nugs that are light green in color. You’ll also notice red hairs covered with trichomes all over the buds. 

could-shashamane-sativa-be-the-rare-lambs-bread

How did Jamaicans settle in Shashamane?

In 1955, Haile Selassie , a respected deity in the Rastafari religion invited Africans living in Carribean Islands to settle in Ethiopia. This was a form of repatriation from centuries of slavery in America. Droves of Jamaican Rastafari hopped on planes and eagerly relocated to the promised land.

Shashamane, located in central Ethiopia ended up being the perfect spot. Settling here made sense because the soil is really fertile and rainfall is sufficient. Also, the local communities helped these Rastafarians build new homes and till their farms. 

Is Weed Legal in Ethiopia?

Is Weed Legal in Ethiopia

Possession, cultivation, and consumption of marijuana is illegal in Ethiopia. Although, just like most East African countries, police won’t rush you to the station when they catch you smoking. You’ll just pay a “fine” and get away with a slap on the wrist.

Who Grows Weed in Ethiopia?

It’s believed that cannabis made its way into Ethiopia as early as 1320. This could be as a result of the Red Sea Trade with eastern nations that have the earliest history of marijuana use. During this period, people mixed ganja with tobacco in traditional smoking pipes.

Owing to the close relationship with Haile Selassie and goodwill of neighboring communities, the newly relocated Jamaicans cultivated their ganja without police interference. You’ll find weed cultivation taking place in eastern districts of Ethiopia but the Shashamane region consistently ranks in both quality and quantity.  

Are there similarities between Shashamane sativa and Lamb’s Bread?

Let’s compare four main characteristics of each strain.

THC Content

Ethiopia’s Shashamane sativa contains THC levels ranging from 10-15%. This characteristic puts it in the same category of daytime sativas as Lamb’s Bread that reaches up to 18% THC. 

Flavors

Cannabis connoisseurs have noted that Lamb’s Bread has distinct herbal and citrus flavors. The terpenes are so strong that some people prefer smoking this strain using a bong. 

Shashamane sativa also features a combination of similar flavors. These flavors come out strongly after a week or two of curing the buds in an airtight glass jar. You can taste them by inhaling a joint before lighting it up.

Appearance

Shashamane sativa comes in light green colored nugs that are quite dense. You’ll notice red hairs and shiny trichomes that make it quite appealing. Take a look at the pic below

shashamane-sativa-vs-lambs-bread

It can be hard to distinguish a Shashamane nug from Lamb’s bread due to their similarities in color, shape, and red hairs.

Here’s a pic of Lamb’s Bread nugs for you to compare and make the judgment.

could-shashamane-sativa-be-the-rare-lambs-bread
Lamb’s Bread nugs

History

Lamb’s Bread is a landrace strain from Jamaica. On the other hand, when comparing Ethiopia and Jamaica’s climate, you’ll notice similarities in average temperature and rainfall patterns. So, it could be highly possible that the Jamaican Rastafarians settling in Shashamane during 1955 carried some Lamb’s Bread seeds from home.

Since their arrival, these groups of Rastafians known for their ganja cultivation rarely experience police home invasions or drug busts. It’s also no secret that Shashamane district  is Ethiopia’s largest producer of cannabis since the 70’s. 

What’s the verdict?

Shashamane and Lamb’s Bread seem to share important aspects such as physical appearance, THC levels, and long history with Jamaicans. Could it be that the current Shashamane sativa growing in Ethiopia actually be the long lost Lamb’s Bread? You be the judge.

Check out what’s available in the Pure African Strains collection

Is Africa’s Weed Trash?

As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Western nations have compensated unfavorable climatic conditions for growing outdoor weed with science. Advanced genetics makes it possible to develop strains possessing THC levels almost double what you’d find in Africa. Does this mean Africa is smoking reggie?

What defines good weed?

1. THC content

Gorilla Glue 4 is a strain that’s been around for more than 5 years. It’s a heavy hitter thanks to it’s staggering 27% THC levels. Girl Scout Cookies from Berner also belongs in the same league because it contains 20%THC. 

Africa has awesome weed but you never hear much about it because cultivation is still old school. You’ll never come across a ganja farmer in Africa taking their buds to the lab for analysis. The lack of cannabis related technology makes it impossible to analyse landrace strains from different countries. 

isibanya-sativa-seedlings
Isibanya Sativa seedlings from Western Kenya at 1 week

Science also shows that strains have unique mental effects due to their individual compositions of THC and accompanying cannabinoids. A strain containing THC 14% might feel less potent if it has a significant amount of cannabidiol compared to a similar one with zero CBD. Especially where growing conditions vary. 

In most African countries, the sun shines 8-9 months annually. The sun’s ultraviolet rays make it possible for cannabinoids to flourish optimally in landrace strains. GoIP Global Inc has already taken advantage of East Africa’s brilliant climate by applying for a cannabis cultivation permit in Kenya

2. Flavors. 

Wedding Cake is an Indica dominant hybrid popular for its tasty flavors. Berner, the man behind Girl Scout Cookies also launched Lemon Cookies sativa. This strain contains 21% THC and has a distinct flavor of honey mixed with lemon. 

East Africa has a diversity of soils ranging from red volcanic found in highlands to black cotton variety found near lakes. When you combine this with varied climates, you’ll notice that African strains have rare earthy flavors you can’t replicate in a laboratory. It’s amazing how the Shashamane sativa from Ethiopia tastes like green mangoes yet there’s no record of grafting. 

3. Appearance

You only get one chance to make a first impression. When you walk into a cannabis dispensary, you’ll notice fat green nugs that are manicured so beautifully that it tempts you to buy everything. Some commercial growers even use special LED lights to stimulate growth of trichomes.

Top Shelf Weed in A Dispensary

In a continent where cannabis is illegal and neighbors consider it taboo, marijuana farmers resort to guerilla cultivation. Growing weed in confined spaces makes it difficult to control pollination and that’s why most buds from Africa you see on Duby or Instagram have seeds in plenty. 

Also, most growers don’t cure their weed using mason jars stored in the dark. After harvest, weed growers just lay out the yield in the sun to dry. Sometimes the strong heat and constant wind end up destroying trichomes.

4. Growing duration

The longer a plant takes to mature, the more resources you need to grow it. That’s why indoor growing is popular with cannabis sellers because it makes plants grow at twice the speed it would take outdoors. A strain that takes 6 months under the sun will only require 8-10 weeks under intense LED grow lights and a hydroponic setup.

In Africa, the sun shines 8-9 months consistently and this makes growing weed easy. It takes about 6-7 months for most sativas to mature. While this duration doesn’t compare with indoor growing, the yields you get are definitely worth the wait. Plus, you get to enjoy the strain’s fully developed cannabinoids thanks to solar ultraviolet rays. 

5. Variety

What’s you favorite sativa strain? You might come across a group of friends that love sativa but each individual has a personal favorite strain. Where there’s plenty of weed, consumers have the freedom to try out a variety of flavors and cannabinoids.

East Africa’s climate provides conducive environments for sativas to flourish. On the other hand, countries at the southern part of Africa have a variety of landrace indica strains. 

Explore landrace strains

We’ve covered the main factors that define what good weed is and it’s clear that African landrace strains match expectations. Are you planning to visit Africa soon? Make sure you sample as much weed as you can!

Check Out Our African Sativas seed bank

How to Buy Weed in East Africa

East African countries have great internet but you won’t find local dispensaries on your weed apps. That’s because it’s still illegal and prominent brands such as WeedMaps don’t want to get in trouble with international laws. Is it possible to smoke weed and enjoy your stay?

Here’s how to do it the smart way.

Buying Weed in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania

1. What Should I expect?

90% of the weed you’ll come across is in the form of pre rolled joints. In Nairobi, price varies from 10 to 100 shillings. You’ll come across strains from central or western Kenya within an affordable range of 10-40 shillings. Dealers roll them in regular size papers.

If you’re paying 50 shillings or more for a joint, that’s because it’s a premium variety. There’s plenty of Ethiopian Shashamane, Malawian Gold, and South Africa highlands strains if you know the right people. These top-tier dealers often have edibles, ounces and can get you Backwoods in Kenya.

Uganda has great local sativas but most people in Kampala prefer smoking weed from Ethiopia. Just like Kenya, 9 out of 10 dealers will offer you pre rolls.

2. How do I get a genuine dealer that won’t rip me off?

Before your arrival

Getting a good dealer before you touch down reduces the chances of getting ripped off. Does this mean you can ask your travel agency to score an ounce of bud? Absolutely not! Here’s how to do it the right way….

Connect on Duby

Duby is a great social media app for ganja lovers. Just like MassRoots (which is currently in limbo), it uses GPS to display a member’s current location. Once you sign up, search for members who come from the country you’re visiting. 

Facebook groups

Facebook has made it way easier to get weed than it was a decade ago. All you have to do is search for cannabis groups or pages related to your destination. For instance, when you search “weed in kenya” here’s what you’ll get

Buying Weed in Kenya

A word of advice

Make sure your connect sends you pictures of the bud you’re about to buy. Also, don’t send the full amount you’ve agreed upon until the transaction is complete. Be smart and buy your green in total privacy, ideally in your hotel room. 

After your arrival

Let’s assume you got so excited visiting East Africa for the first time that you forgot to get a good connect using Duby or Facebook. The good news is you still have a good chance of scoring weed. On the other hand, you might encounter language barriers especially if your vacation is somewhere remote. 

Another thing is you won’t have a chance to compare the product and prices. This might make you feel like you’re getting a bad deal and in most cases it is because you’ll have to rely on a middleman. 

Who can get you some weed in this situation?

  1. Hotel security

Approximately 70% of East Africa’s population is below 35 years of age. That’s why you’ll notice plenty of young faces everywhere. Also, people here are very friendly and hotel security guards won’t frown if you ask them to score some weed for you. 

  1. Beach boys

When you’re visiting Kenya or Tanzania’s ocean beaches, you’ll spot several young men selling beaded jewelry. You can distinguish them by their dreadlocks and flashy style. These guys will sell you jewelry as well as supply the best coconut wine and weed. 

  1. Escorts

Nowadays, you can get escorts to your apartment or hotel room by going online. Online escorts in East Africa are well mannered compared to street hookers. You can just ask them to get you some weed while on the way to your place and it won’t be an issue. 

3. Where can I smoke without constantly looking over my shoulder?

While possession and consumption of marijuana is illegal, you can puff away in certain areas without worrying about cops or snitches. 

Short stay apartments

Short stay apartments are usually situated in affluent areas of major cities. Here, security guards give you lots of privacy and respect. You can smoke in your private balcony or at the rooftop as long as you tip the guard.

Hotel rooms

Just like short stay apartments, you’ll enjoy VIP treatment from hotel security and staff. However, smoking in a hotel room requires a degree of caution. Smoking in the morning is risky because guests walking to the dining area can catch a whiff and report you. Also, you don’t want the housekeeper to catch you red handed.

The best time to smoke is usually in the afternoon and late night. Most of the guests are out and about so you won’t worry about snitches. Also, housekeeping won’t pop up in your room after morning cleanup. 

Rental Cars

People here are friendly but most taxi drivers don’t like customers smoking weed in their cars. The best alternative is getting a rental so you can smoke at your own convenience. 

6  Risky Places to Get Caught Smoking

The following areas in this list are always packed with undercover police. 

1. Central business district 

2. In the Uber  

3. In the club  

4. When stuck in traffic 

5. Public parks

6. At the beach 

 Buying weed in East Africa is easy

Now you know how to buy weed in East Africa without getting ripped off. Follow these rules and you’ll have a memorable stay in this beautiful region.