n Acta Criminologica : African Journal of Criminology & Victimology - Marijuana smoking among young institution of higher learning students in Nigeria

Volume 2015 Number sed-3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


There has been increasing research and policy interests in understanding Marijuana smoking around the world. Many of the existing studies on illicit use of Marijuana, however, did not focus on students' marijuana smoking in Africa at institutions of higher learning, thereby leaving a gap in knowledge on the topic and more specifically the focus of this article. In the last ten years in the developed countries (for example in the United States of America), while there have been numerous studies on the smoking of Marijuana in schools and particularly universities, only a few such studies have been done on the African continent. This article, therefore, provides original and empirical contextualisation of Marijuana smoking among young undergraduates in a rapidly modernising traditional context in Nigeria. Accordingly, this article offers fresh case study insights from sub-Saharan Africa in an attempt to reduce the knowledge gap on young peoples' illicit Marijuana use in Africa. The article is based on detailed qualitative ethnographic primary research among the target group. Findings revealed that: Marijuana smoking sometimes starts as early as when the user is in elementary school; there are different contextual code names for Marijuana to avoid social and legal sanctions; and, even when young Marijuana smokers are aware of the criminalisation of their act, they are not deterred partly because the law is weak and the law enforcers are themselves complicit in its use. It is thus time to re-strategise the many existing legal, policy, social, generational and moral issues surrounding Marijuana smoking, especially among young people in Africa.

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