The Minister of the Interior is once again clothed with the full powers to grant licences for the cultivation of cannabis with not more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.
The measure which is on a dry weight basis will be used only for industrial and medicinal purposes.
That came after the regulation that was laid in Parliament on November 9, 2023 matured and passed into law.
It will licence the cultivation, processing, distribution, sale, export for sale, and importation of cultivars, grains, seeds, and biomass of cannabis with not more than 0.3 percent THC content.
The L.I. will also provide for a strict licensing regime throughout the value chain– from production, and processing to transportation and distribution.
The purpose of the instrument is to operationalise paragraph (b) of subsection (3) Section 112 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019).
Section 13 provides that the Minister for the Interior shall cause to be laid in Parliament regulations to “restrict or prohibit the export or import of any goods.”
The regulation was laid by the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, in accordance with article 11(7) (a) of the Constitution and Order 77 of the Standing Orders on November 9, 2023.
The Speaker referred the instrument to the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation for consideration and report.
Moving a motion for the adoption of the committee’s report on the floor of Parliament, the Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee, Dr. Dominic Ayine, said there had been a global shift and the increasing realization of the benefits of cannabis cultivation for industrial and medicinal purposes was reflected in the passage of the Narcotics Control Commission Act 2020 (Act 1019).
He said Parliament, after deep consideration and deliberation, voted to pass the Act with a provision to legalize the cultivation and use of cannabis for industrial and medicinal purposes.
The Act mandated the minister, on the recommendation of the board, to make regulations by legislative instrument to give effect to or to enable effect to be given to the Act within 12 months after the coming into force of the Act.
Dr. Ayine, however, said the smooth passage of the instrument into law was truncated as a result of a declaration of the Supreme Court in the case of Ezuame Mannan vs The Attorney-General & The Speaker of Parliament (Ezuame case) which declared section 43 of the law as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
To remedy the situation, the Narcotics Control Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was passed into law by Parliament to empower the minister to grant licenses for cannabis cultivation within the country.
He said the committee noted that, with the coming into effect of the legislation, Ghana took a significant step towards harnessing the potential industrial and medicinal benefits of cannabis cultivation such as the production of fibre, seed, and medicine in a regulated manner.
He said during the consideration of the regulation, the committee members raised concerns about the legalization of the cultivation of cannabis or hemp due to the public perception that it might result in the use of cannabis for recreational purposes.
He, however, said experts from the Narcotics Commission explained the L.I. was targeting the regulation and management of industrial hemp and not the marijuana plant which had a higher THC content that caused psychoactive (mind-lingering) effects on consumption.
Contributing to the motion, the National Democratic Congress MP for Adaklu, Kwame Governs Agbodza, questioned how effective control measures could be put in place to stop the potential hazards associated with the cultivation of cannabis in the country.
He said the young man abusing wee in Ghana would not take such substance to the laboratory to test the 0.3 percent THC content before he smoked it.
He argued that even though the sources of electricity produced in Ghana were known, the authorities were unable to police the amount of electricity produced, and “you are now talking about giving license to people to produce weed.”