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Parliament legalizes wee for industrial and health purposes again

Parliament has once again legalizes wee cultivation under licence for health and industrial purposes

Parliament legalizes wee also called cannabis or marijuana by passing the Narcotics Control Commission Amendment Bill, 2023 under a certificate of urgency.

The object of the Bill is to amend the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) to empower the Minister of Interior to grant a license for the cultivation of cannabis which has not more than 0.3 per cent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for obtaining fibre or seed or medicinal purposes.

Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of the Interior moved the Motion for the House to pass the Bill into law, which was seconded by Mr James Agalga, the Ranking Member of Parliament Select Committee on Defence and Interior and National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bulsa North.

$43.72bn global cannabis market

The global cannabis market size was valued at $43.72 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from  $57.18 billion in 2023 to $ 444.34 billion by 2030.

Ghana projected to earn $3bn in 2023 

It is projected that Ghana can earn $3 billion from cannabis cultivation in 2023.

Countries where wee is legalised 

Cannabis is legal in countries such as Canada, United States, Mexico, Argentina, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Jamaica, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Israel, Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Thailand, among others.

Parliament legalizes wee

The Amendment Bill has been necessitated due to the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case between Ezuame Mannan versus the Attorney-General and the Speaker of Parliament with Writ No. J1/1112021 dated 27th July 2022.

In the said ruling, the Apex Court of Ghana declared section 43 of the Narcotics Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) as unconstitutional and therefore null and void.

In a 4-3 majority decision Wednesday (July 28, 2022), a seven-member panel of the apex court held that Section 43 of Act 1019 violated 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.

Justices on the majority side were Justices Jones Dotse, Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi.

Justices Nene Amegatcher, Prof Nii Ashie Kotey and Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu dissented.

The report said the Committee expressed concern about the inability of the Judiciary to consult Parliament before deciding to strike out section 43 of Act 1019 as unconstitutional.

The Committee, without prejudice to the recognition of the essence of the doctrine of Separation of Powers in advancing democratic culture and values, that, organs of state need to appreciate that their functions were complementary, consequently, the three organs of the State should work towards a common convergence.

The Committee’s report indicated that prior to the Supreme Court ruling, foreign investors had initiated preparations to commence investment in the cultivation of cannabis including entering into agreements with local partners and join venture companies.

The Minister expressed his gratitude to the House for the passage of the Bill.

Why Parliament legalizes wee 

During the debate on the report on Tuesday, July 11, Mr Dery in his contribution, said it had been projected that cannabis production could generate over three billion dollars in 2023, making it one of the country’s most lucrative industries.

“…But Mr Speaker, if we were not disturbed by this Judgement, we were projected to earn three billion dollars from that cannabis cultivation in 2023.

“We would not have gone to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) for three billion dollars, because three billion dollars a year is what we would have achieved in 2023 and yet we go for three billion dollars for three years and therefore, we have already lost time.”

He reiterated that cultivation of medical cannabis was going to provide employment and other benefits such as its use in managing Parkinson’s disease.

On the cultivation of cannabis which had not more than 0.3 per cent THC content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes, Mr Dery said some vegetables produced in the country such as “bito” had higher levels of THC, yet it was consumed as soup.

He said the Amendment Bill was just a “one Clause Amendment” and that it was not an Amendment that would consume the time of the House.

Madam Ophelia Mensah, Vice Chairperson of the Defence and Interior Committee, said some urgency was required in the passage of the Bill to minimise potential losses to these interested investors.

Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, the Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, who seconded the Motion, said the Defense and Interior Committee recommended to the House to adopt its report and pass the Narcotics Control Commission Amendment Bill, 2023 into law in accordance with Article 106(13) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 119 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, said in passing the Bill into law (Act 1019) the House did a lot of considerations at the various Committees levels; saying “So, when the matter came before this House, Mr Speaker, we spent little time, because we had agreed on most of the provisions in the Bill and so, it will appear as if we were rushed and indeed, if a provision is called and there was nobody response to it because of the initial agreement that we had come to.” The Majority Leader said.

“Mr Speaker, I found it quite unfortunate for the Court to rule that because the Clause was called, people (MPs) did not interrogate it, it should be deemed to imply that there was no vote.”

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said there was the need for the House to have some engagements with their compatriots on the bench; so that they appreciate the significance of what they do in the House.



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