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General News of Saturday, 27 February 2016

Source: The Finder

'Cannabis is legal in Ghana but …' - Lawyer

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The recent upsurge in the production of Cannabis, popularly known as ‘wee’ classified as a narcotic substance in Ghana has stoked a legal debate on where national discourse on the matter should begin.

As per the laws of the country, wee is not illegal - but wait a minute; there are conditions to its possession and use.

So if for any reason you want to use, cultivate, import and export the substance, first get approval from the Minister of Health, and you are good to go.

Private legal practitioner Samson Lardy Anyenini argues that:

“Like, abortion, wee is NOT illegal in Ghana. The manufacture, cultivation, exportation, importation, possession, injection, smoking, sniffing etc "WITHOUT lawful authority" or "WITHOUT licence" or "WITHOUT lawful excuse" is what is prohibited in Ghana. Emphasis added. The law says licence is to be obtained from the Secretary for Health - now Minister of Health. So, all that must be done in Ghana is the mechanics of obtaining the LAWFUL authority or licence or excuse.”


Section (1) and (2) of the law states:

(1) Any person who imports or exports any narcotic drug without a licence issued by the Secretary for Health for that purpose commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years.

(2) The Secretary for Health may grant a licence for the importation of narcotic drugs if on an application made to him by such persons as may be prescribed he is satisfied that the licence can be properly granted.

Section 5 which talks about the use of Narcotic Drugs also states:

(1) No person shall without lawful authority or excuse smoke, sniff, consume, inject in his body or otherwise administer narcotic drug on his body.

Again Sections 1(4) of the law states that “where a person imports any narcotic drug he shall within 14 days of such import deliver to the Pharmacy Board the particulars of the drug imported”.

Samson, however, argues that if it were a banned product, provisions wouldn’t have been made in the law for possession, importation of the substances.

What appears to be the missing link to obtaining a lawful use or possession of the so-called narcotic substances, are the modalities which are currently not in place.

What is missing, however, is a legislative instrument which would spell out the modalities for its use, cultivation and importation or exportation?

Information gathered by weekend Finder indicate that most of the youth in the country are abandoning growing food crops and are busily cultivation Indian hemp.

A source in the Volta region told Weekend Finder that are now leaving town and moving farther into forest lands where they cultivate large acres of the herb.

The source said say after three to four months in the bush they return richer due to the high prices and demand for the commodity.

The source further stated that although some of the wee farms are cultivated in forest serves in the region, they are not detected because of the protection they get from some security officials.

The source stated further that due the recent delays in coming of the rains, more of the youth are moving into wee cultivation which has a short maturity period and weather resistant.