By LeeWEpstein

March 30, 2020


In North America, many states have taken the step of going underground over the last five years and recovering billions of dollars from a sector that was previously abandoned to clandestinity. Most of the experience of other countries… for the legalization of the consumption of  hemp in Gabon and an unsuspected economic gain.

At a time when Hervé Omva Ovono is promoting Iboga with a view to its export. A few months after there was talk of pledging the state’s land titles to raise funds in the financial markets. And at a time when the Gabonese government is taking out a series of bonds, an idea from the far West could apply in Gabon, make the country earn money. It would also put Gabon at the forefront of modernity in terms of individual freedoms, as it concerns the liberalization of the consumption, possession and above all sale of cannabis.

The idea is going to ruffle the hairs of many Gabonese caulked in the reactionary good sense. They know nothing, however, about the historical determinisms of cannabis prohibition. The prohibition of this substance, which has been used for thousands of years, was formally prohibited for the first time only in 1916, in France and Great Britain. The whole world merely copied these former colonial powers. Whether it is called cannabis, marijuana, ganja, bang, yam, tobacco-Congo or hemp, the prohibition of this plant was above all a political decision. The studies commissioned at the time, notably by England, had never concluded that cannabis was more dangerous to health than alcohol.

80 billion CFA francs in 6 months and 18,000 jobs in 3 years

The phenomenon of cannabis liberalization starts in the Wild West, where the state of Colorado collected $135 million (just over 80 billion CFA francs) in six months in mid-2014. Following a popular referendum, this western state of the United States had just authorized the consumption, possession, and sale of Indian hemp. In return, Colorado taxes the activity at a high price: 15% indirect tax on consumption (excise duty) levied on the quantity rather than on the value of the product and a very high sales tax. The fiscal future of this state of 5.6 million inhabitants has become radiant, the legalization of marijuana attracts many cannabis tourists who come here to have a good time but also to loosen the purse strings. The cannabis market has created 18,000 full-time jobs in three years.

Following the example of Colorado, 29 American states have legalized the use of cannabis. Since 1996, California, the most populous state in the American Union, has only allowed the medical use of cannabis, and on 1 January 2018, it legalized its recreational use. You simply have to be at least 21 years of age and show a valid ID card or driver’s license to buy up to 28 grams of weed per person.

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