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General News of Saturday, 14 December 2019


CSOs petition govt over legalization of marijuana

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Five civil society organizations have kicked against the legalization of marijuana and the use of narcotic drugs in Ghana by jointly presenting a petition to the Office of the President.

The organisations are Institute of Leadership and Development (INSLA), Community Anti-Drug Coalition of Ghana (CADCOG), Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), the Federation of Youth Clubs (FYC) and Mothers Club in Development (MCD).

They also petitioned the Office of the Speaker of Parliament and the Ministry of the Interior.

A copy of the petition made available to the Ghana News Agency said: “It is of national honour and integrity to ensure that Ghana’s Narcotic Control Commission adheres to the International Drug Control Conventions to which Ghana is a party to.”

The Conventions includes; The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the 1972 protocol; Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, and the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) Outcome Document on World Drug Problems.

It said the fundamental human right in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution includes the Right to Good Health and that this constitutional provision therefore clarifies the importance of healthy population to national development.

The petition said an aspect of the current global development framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3.5) expressly called for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.

“Ghana must therefore aspire to achieve these set-out targets as a medium to achieving goal ‘3’ of the SDG, which seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all ages,” it said.

The petition called on the government to stand firm against vested and commercial interests and continue to resort to appropriate expert consultancy in order not to make detrimental decisions.

“As regards to the call for the legalization of drug use, we stand by our experts including those at the Ghana Mental Authority to urge government not to promote drug use due to its consequences on public health.

“Ghana should comprehensively implement the recommendations adopted at the UNGASS and the 2019 Political declaration,” it said.

The petition said the outcomes obtained from jurisdictions that have accepted hard drug use points to the negative direction, adding; “Commercial and other vested interest of individuals, organized groups and businesses must not be allowed to worsen the road traffic death and injuries, the primary healthcare services and more importantly the mental health situation in the country.”

“The government has the constitutional mandate to protect the population, especially the children, youth and women against drug related harms and addictions,” it concluded.

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