The Ghanaian Parliament Last Friday has passed into law the Narcotics Control Commission Bill 2019 that will essentially allow the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp in Ghana for manufacturing, export and for medicine.
This new legislation which has been long-overdue puts Ghana in the league of African and foreign countries cashing in on a global cannabis industry modestly estimated to be over US$ 300 billion.
The landmark legislation transforms the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) into a commission to be called the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC).
NACOC will wield a more progressive power beyond NACOB’s current enforcement role. For instance, instead of its blanket hunting and imprisonment of suspected cannabis cultivators, it will liaise with the Minister for Interior and the Ministry of Health to grant licenses for the production of cannabis of not more than 0.3 per cent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for industrial and medicinal purposes.
“It is illegal to grow or possess cannabis without a license. And also growing cannabis of more than 0.3 per cent THC (the one people smoke) remains illegal,” Kunbungu MP Ras Mubarak clarified after parliament approved the bill.
NACOC’s role will also focus on rehabilitating confirmed drug addicts, rather than the off-the-shelf strategy of imprisoning all suspected drug users. The bill ensures that drug abuse will be treated as a public health issue and not a law enforcement situation.
The legislation was finally passed after an endless tussle between regulators and mostly the Hemp Association of Ghana (HAG), West African Drug Policy Network and several other civil society group
Some members of the general public have interpreted the new bill to mean free-for-all legalisation of Cannabis, particularly Marijuana for recreational use, but regulators and lawmakers have warned against this erroneous interpretation of the new legal regime.
“Parliament hasn’t legalized cannabis for smoking. Possession of cannabis without lawful authority remains illegal,” Ras Mubarak warned.
“What we have approved is a different strain of cannabis, and vastly different from recreational cannabis which has more than 0.3 THC. This is not a license to smoke. There are real concerns about abuse. What we have approved is not the type people smoke. So those who are worried can be rest assured.”
Meanwhile, in anticipation of relaxing the legal restrictions against the cultivation of industrial hemp, HAG has already entered into a multi-million contract with offtakers in both Portugal and United States (USA) for proprietary hemp seeds set to be cultivated in Ghana.
Whatsup News can confirm that industry experts are eager for Ghana’s hemp because of what they term as one of the most conducive environments to cultivate hemp in the world.