Africa has a long history of drug production, trade and consumption, and as a consequence a long history of debates about how such substances should be controlled within society. However, it was in the colonial era that most drug laws within Africa were first enacted, often following blueprints from other parts of the world rather than reflecting actual usage and concerns of Africans. This chapter traces the origins of African drug policies within this colonial history, and the intertwining of policy in Africa with global policy developments. It suggests how, despite the globalization of such policy, the situation in Africa is very varied, as different countries adapt and interpret such policies in different ways. The chapter explores how several African countries are now moving away from prohibitionist policy, especially in relation to cannabis, and how debate is growing for change despite much pushback at the level of national and regional politics.
- SPS Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice