June 13, 2024
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Narcotics Bill: Let’s Put Mechanisms In Place To Check Abuse

Mr Adib Saani, Executive Director, Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building, has urged the Government to put mechanisms in place to check abuse of the Narcotics Control Commission Amendment Bill, 2023.

He said after issuing licenses to qualified applicants, engagements and frequent visits to cultivation sites should be carried out to ensure adherence to the provisions of the license.

“My biggest concern and fear has to do with enforcement, in that, the license could be abused. We need the right mechanisms to check and know the type of cannabis being cultivated.

“Some might also be diverted to the streets for recreational use, as such, if care is not taken, people will abuse it,” he said.

On Wednesday, July 12, 2023, Parliament passed the Narcotics Control Commission Amendment Bill, 2023, to authorise the Minister for the Interior to grant licenses for the cultivation of cannabis with limited Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.

The Bill will cause major changes to the cultivation of cannabis for both industrial and medicinal purposes.

It will also promote the growth of the industry and create avenues for further exploration of its potential.

Mr Saani, also a Security Analyst, said industrial production of cannabis had proven useful for other countries because it could be found in several components and lauded Parliament for passing the Bill.

However, he expressed worry over the tendency for people to assume they now had permission to cultivate cannabis for recreational purposes.

“Some might also see it as a new business venture and as we’re always talking about terrorism and its financing, this is one of the ways they are able to finance themselves by trafficking drugs.

“I wouldn’t want to see a situation where Ghana becomes a production hub for cannabis, which might find its way into other markets within the sub-region.”

Mr Saani said the Ministry for the Interior should do due diligence on applicants before issuing licenses.

He said aside the regulatory framework, institutional capacity building was necessary to closely guard the production of the herb.

The new law has converted the prison term for drug possession for personal use into a fine of between 200-500 penalty units (GHC 2,400 to GHC6,000).

This means that instead of spending up to 10 years in prison for the possession of drugs for personal use, offenders now have alternatives to incarceration.

Mr Saani commended the conversion of the jail term to penalty points because it would reduce congestion in prisons.

However, he said those who repeatedly broke the law should be jailed to deter others from taking advantage of the provision.

Source: GNA

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