Ghana: Cannabis use remains a crime – Minister of Interior

Recreational use of cannabis commonly known as “wee” remains a crime under the Narcotics Control Board Act 2020 (Act 1019), Home Secretary Ambrose Dery has reiterated.

According to him, public perceptions that certain aspects of the law enacted in 2020, which allows the cultivation and export of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, meant that the government had legalized the consumption of cannabis was a mistake.

“I hear a lot of people say that the law we brought in has legalized the use of cannabis, but that’s not true. Cannabis use still has a negative impact on people, especially young people, and all anyone found consuming it would be prosecuted accordingly,” the minister said.

Mr Dery was talking to a reporter at the launch of the ‘Technical and Logistical Assistance Project’ (TLAP) for the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC) to combat drug trafficking and organized crime in Accra on Wednesday.

Organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with NACOC, the isreliant on the law project aims to raise awareness and solicit support from stakeholders in the fight against drug-related crimes .

Funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement of the United States of America (US/INL), the project would see the creation of a digital library for the Commission’s reinforced intelligence and documentation unit while improving knowledge and skills of officers to combat drug trafficking and associated organized crime.

Although the Supreme Court recently declared unconstitutional aspects of the Narcotics Control Board Act 2020 (Act 1019), which authorizes the granting of a license to an entity to cultivate small amounts of cannabis, the Minister said that those who wish to request it will be provided with “standard facilities” only, for this purpose.

He said the TLAP was key to improving the ability of NACOC as well as other security agencies to carry out its mandate to ensure that Ghana is not used as a transit point for drug related crimes.

Mr. Deryfurther commended UNODC and International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) for their contributions to Ghana’s fight against drug trafficking, assuring that the Commission would work within the law.

NACOC Acting Director General Mr. Kenneth Adu-Amanfoh explained that the multi-faceted nature of the world’s drug problems required a participatory approach involving the support and cooperation of international partners.

Mr. Adu-Amanfoh said his team is committed to the fight against illicit drug trafficking and stands ready to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure this happens.

On his part, the Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Commissioner of Police (COP), Mr. Kennedy Yeboah pledged his support to NACOC in carrying out its mandate.

He explained that with funding from INL and UNODC, four additional regional drug enforcement units had been established within the Service between 2016 and 2020, urging NACOC to liaise with the units as well as with CID’s Criminal Data Service Bureau (CDSB) to combat the threat.

Coming into force in May 2020, the Narcotics Control Board Act 2020 (Act 1019) provides for offenses relating to narcotics and plants grown for the purpose of narcotics and other related matters

Replacing the Narcotic Drugs (Control, Enforcement and Sanctions) Act of 1990 (PNDC Act 236), the new Act strengthens the mandate and authority of the NACOC to effectively regulate and combat illicit drug trafficking and its related offenses in the country.

Betty K. Park