Ghana: Use of Cannabis Still Remains Crime - Interior Minister

The use of cannabis popularly referred to as "wee" for recreational purposes remains a crime under the Narcotic Control Commission Act 2020 (Act 1019), the Minister For The Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, has reiterated.

According to him, perceptions among the public that aspects of the law enacted in 2020, which permits the cultivation and export of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, meant that, the government had legalised the consumption of cannabis was wrong.

"I hear a lot of people say the law we brought has legalised consumption of cannabis, but it is not true. The use of cannabis still has a negative impact on people, especially, the youth, and anyone found using it would be prosecuted accordingly," the minister said.

Mr Dery was speaking with journalist at the launch of the 'Technical and Logistical Assistance Project" (TLAP) for the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC) to counter drug trafficking and organised crimes in Accra on Wednesday.

Organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with NACOC, the project isreliant on the law aims at raising awareness and seeking stakeholder support in the fight against drug crimes.

With funding from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement of the United States of America (US/INL), the project would see to the creation of a digital library for the Commission's enhanced intelligence and documentation unit while improving the knowledge and skills of officers to fight drug trafficking and related organised crimes.

Although the Supreme Court had recently declared as unconstitutional aspects of the Narcotic Control Commission Act 2020 (Act 1019), which allows licence to be granted to an entity to cultivate a small quantities of cannabis, the Minister said individuals who wish to apply for such would be provided with "standard plants" only, for that purpose.

He said the TLAP was vital to improve the capacity of NACOC as well as other security agencies in executing its mandate to ensure that Ghana was not used as a transit point for drug-related crimes.

Mr Deryfurther lauded UNODC and the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) for its contributions towards Ghana's fight against drug trafficking assuring that the Commission would work within the remit of the law.

The Acting Director-General of NACOC, Mr Kenneth Adu-Amanfoh explained that the multi-ferocious nature of global drug issues required a stakeholder approach involving the support and cooperation of international partners.

Mr Adu-Amanfoh said, his outfit was committed to the fight against illicit drug trafficking and was prepared to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure that was realised.

For his part, the Director-General of Criminal Investigative Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Commissioner of Police (COP), Mr Kennedy Yeboah pledged his outfit support for NACOC in delivering on its mandate.

He explained that through funding from INL and UNODC, four additional Regional Drug Law Enforcement Units had been established within the Service between 2016 and 2020 urging the NACOC to liaise with the units as well as the Criminal Data Service Bureau (CDSB) of the CID to fight the threat.

Taking effect in May 2020, the Narcotic Control Commission Act 2020 (Act 1019) provides for offences related to narcotic drugs and plants cultivated for narcotic purposes and other related matters

Replacing the Narcotics Drugs (Control, Enforcement and Sanctions) Law, 1990 (PNDC Law 236), the new law enhances the mandate and authority of NACOC to regulate and effectively tackle illicit drug trafficking and its related offences in the country.

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