Ghana Legalizes Medical and Industrial Cannabis, Sets THC Limit at 0,3%
The West African nation of Ghana has legalized the cultivation of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes after a technicality held up the passage of the bill in Parliament.
All Africa Online
23 July 2023 at 06:00:00
This report from Allafrica.com.
Ghana’s Parliament passed the Narcotics Control Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2023 on 12 July 2023 to allow for the cultivation of cannabis not beyond THC of 0.3 per cent for industrial purposes.
The passage reintroduces Section 43 into the Act which was earlier struck out by the Supreme Court in the original Act.
By this, the Minister of the Interior has been granted the authority to issue licenses for the cultivation of the plant.
This passage comes on the back of the declaration by the Supreme Court that the bill which was first passed in 2022 was unconstitutional.
By a 4:3 majority, the Apex Court in July 2022 struck out Section 43 of the bill as a violation of Article 106(5)(6) of the 1992 Constitution on the basis that there was no debate in Parliament when the bill was passed in the first instance.
Article 106(5) of the 1992 Constitution states that "where a bill has been deliberated upon by the appropriate committee, it shall be reported to Parliament", while Article 106(6) specifies that "the report of the committee, together with the explanatory memorandum to the bill, shall form the basis for a full debate on the bill for its passage, with or without amendments, or its rejection, by Parliament."
A review application filed by the Attorney-General was, however, dismissed in a 5-4 decision of the court.
The section which was struck out stipulated that "the minister on the recommendation of the Narcotics Control Commission, may grant a licence for the cultivation of cannabis popularly referred to as "wee" in Ghana, which is not more than 0.3 per cent THC content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for obtaining fibre or seed for medicinal purposes."
In his submission for the passage of the single-clause Amendment Bill, the Minister of the Interior, Ambrose Dery, clarified that the bill did not seek to legalise the recreational use of cannabis.
He argued that the passage of the amended bill would provide an avenue for the issuance of special licenses for cannabis production.
When the bill was reintroduced on Thursday, July 4, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, who was not pleased with the decision of the court said the House was not seeking to review the decision.
"We are not reviewing the decision of the Supreme Court. What we are seeking to do is to correct an error and reinstate the right provision.
"It is a matter that is dear to my heart personally, and I think the country is losing a lot as a result of this (Supreme Court) decision. We need to work expeditiously to rectify the wrong.
"I hope that the three arms of government will work together and respect each other. In cases of doubt, it is important to consult the other arm before giving finality to whatever decision the other arm wants to take."
"I don't think that it is proper for the judiciary to, without knowing how we conduct our business here, really go into how we conduct the business and make such an important decision without consulting the house, that is improper.
"I have made this known to them and I want this to be known publicly, this is for the benefit of the country. So please, committee, you are given one week to submit your report," the Speaker stated.
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