Ghana has decriminalised the use of cannabis for health and industrial purposes.
Parliament passed the Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019 on Friday evening.
The law also makes the country’s Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) a Commission with enhanced powers to oversee the industrial use of some narcotic substances.
The Commission, however, will have the mandate to control and eliminate the trafficking of prohibited narcotic drugs to ensure public safety.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 147 million people, or 2.5 percent of the world population, consume cannabis.
On the African continent, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho, and South Africa are among counties that have decriminalised medicinal cannabis use.
The economic potential of the medicinal and industrial cannabis industry has been one of the main reasons for the change in legislation in these countries.
In line with this, a Neuroscientist Drug Researcher at the University of Columbia, Professor Carl Hart urged Ghana to consider legalising and regulating the drug so Ghana could enjoy its enormous benefits.
Ghana’s Narcotic Drugs (Control, Enforcement and Sanction) Act, 1990, PNDC Law 236, criminalises narcotic drugs such as cannabis and states that anyone found in possession or importing a narcotic substance “shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years.”
The manufacture, produce or distribution of such narcotics also faced similar sanctions.
Pro-cannabis supporters have been outspoken in their desire to see the law changed.
In 2019, the Rastafarian Council of Ghana threatened to hold a march to demand the decriminalisation of cannabis.