Agricultural Science Teacher and Four Others Bust for Growing 80 ha Cannabis in Ghana Forest Reserve
16 August 2022, 16:00:00
The five men were arrested for cultivating 80 ha of cannabis in Obuo Akroma Forest Reserve in one of the biggest busts in Ghanaian history
Koforidua — The five suspects, who were grabbed for cultivating 80 hectares cannabis farm in the Afram Plains North District, in the Eastern Region, have been remanded into police custody by Donkorkrom Magistrate Court.
They are an agricultural science teacher, Michael Anakpo, alleged leader in charge of the farm, Normenyo Blewu, Korsi Mawuena, Charles Kale and Emmanuel Kojo.
The pleas of the suspects was taken and they were remanded by the court presided over by Augustine Akusa-am to reappear on 17 August 2022.
The District Manager of the Forestry Commission in Afram Plains, Mr Richard Amoateng, who led the operation, told the Ghanaian Times that officials from his outfit together with the police would visit and inspect the farm.
The suspects were arrested during a swoop last Saturday by the Forestry Commission for cultivating cannabis in the Obuo Akroma Forest Reserve.
According to Mr Amoateng three maxi-sacks of harvested cannabis, six medium size sacks, three cutlasses, two hoes, a knife, five plastic containers filled with the harvested stuff and alcoholic drinks mixed with the narcotic substance were retrieved.
Briefing journalists, Mr Amoateng said that the team had also discovered that the suspects have nursed cannabis seedlings for transplanting, 13 tents on the farm that accommodated the suspects had a warning sign post with the inscription: "Don't attempt."
It is recalled that Ghana's new Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) was passed by Parliament on March 20, 2020, and assented to by the President on May 11, 2020.
It seeks to treat drug use and dependency as a public health issue rather than focusing on law enforcement, incarceration, punishment, and repression.
The new law has converted prison term for drug possession for personal use into a fine of between 200 and 500 penalty units equivalent to GH¢2,400 and GH¢6000 respectively.
Section 43 of Act 1019 of the Narcotic Control Commission Act, 2022 (Act 1019) stipulates that "the Minister on the recommendation of the Commission, may grant a license for the cultivation of cannabis popularly referred to as "wee" in Ghana, which is not more than 0.3 per cent content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for obtaining fibre or seed for medicinal purposes."
However, in a 4-3 majority decision Wednesday (July 28, 2022), a seven-member panel of the apex court held this section violates Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution, which details the processes a bill must go through before it is passed into law by Parliament, and was therefore null and void.