UNODC identifies Ghana as main trafficking and origin point for cannabis

Ghana has emerged as the main origin, transit and departure point for cannabis in Africa, according to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC).

The UNODC has cited Ghana together with three other countries; Nigeria, Swaziland and Mozambique, as the main trafficking and origin point of cannabis in Africa.

According to the 2018 Drug Report, there exists a low level transnational trafficking with only 17 countries in Africa reporting on origin or transit of cannabis herb over the period 2012-2016. However, the most frequently mentioned countries of origin or transit of cannabis herb Africa were Ghana (reported by five countries), followed by Nigeria ( three countries), Mozambique (three countries) and Swaziland (three countries).

The report notes that, most trafficking of cannabis herb takes place in the region where it is produced, a phenomenon that has become even more pronounced since the spread of indoor cannabis cultivation.

Although most of the cannabis produced in Africa is for consumption within the region, a number of African countries including Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia have identified European countries as the final destination, notably the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Italy.

The third segment of the UNODC’s 2018 report, which analyzes drug markets, says the Americas remain the leading region with regards to cannabis seizures.

North America accounted for 39 per cent of the global total, and South America and Central America and the Caribbean for 23 per cent. The next largest seizure amounts reported for regions were those of Africa (17 per cent), Asia (14 per cent), Europe (6 per cent) and Oceania (0.2 per cent). Whereas the amounts of cannabis plants seized and area of eradication increased, the global quantity of cannabis herb seized decreased by 22 per cent from 2015 to 2016, to 4,682 tons, the lowest level since 2000.

Overall, the report recorded a decreased seizure of cannabis globally in 2016 – this was mainly attributed to the 51 per cent decrease reported in Africa (partly a reflection of reporting issues) and the 25 per cent decrease in the Americas, whereas the quantity of cannabis herb seized increased in Europe (49 per cent), Asia (135 per cent) and Oceania (6 per cent).

Despite the reduced seizure of cannabis globally, its consumption is on the rise.

In Ghana, anything having to do with cannabis is regarded illegal by PNDCL 236, without express approval from the Minister of Health but there is a growing call for cannabis legalization for medical, recreational and economic purposes.

By Bismark Elorm Addo
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