Expedite action on LI to operationalise cultivation of industrial hemp – Agyemang

Nana Agyemang

Nana Kwaku Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Hempire Agric Ghana Limited (HAG), has urged government to hasten the passage of the Legislative Instrument (LI) to operationalise cultivation of industrial hemp in Ghana.

Section 43 of Act 1019 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act makes special provision for the cultivation of cannabis solely for industrial purposes.

The industrial hemp must not have a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content exceeding 0.3 per cent.

Legislative instruments are laws on matters of detail made by a person or body authorised to do so by the relevant enabling legislation.

Nana Agyemang made the call on Tuesday during a Press Conference and Seminar organised by HAG to reflect on the topic: “Cannabis and the Law.”

He said the passage of the LI regarding the special provision would allow for a new stream of revenue into government coffers.

The CEO said allowing for the cultivation of industrial hemp would enrich Ghana’s economy and deal with the culture of borrowing.

“The LI will set Ghana apart and help us build our nation. It’s an industrial revolution that would bring lots of money to Ghana. It will stop borrowing and let us generate our own monies,” he said.

He said the crop was beneficial in the area of textiles, construction, cosmetics and medicine, amongst others.

Mr Micheal Addo, Deputy Director General of the Narcotics Control Commission (NCC), said government had completed all major formalities concerning the LI and was still going through all other due processes.

He said upon completion of all processes, Mr Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior, would send it to Parliament for deliberation before finally passing the L.I.

Mr Addo, however, emphasised that the special provision did not allow for the cultivation and use of cannabis for recreational purposes.

He said government was making plan to establish rehabilitation centres to help in the reintegration of persons with substance abuse disorder back into society.

On Friday, March 20, 2020, Parliament passed the Narcotics Control Commission Bill into law, thereby turning the country’s Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) into a Commission.

The new law also enhances the powers of NACOB to oversee the industrial use of some narcotic substances.

The passage of the Law brought great excitement to many who had been following the legislative process since 2015, when the Bill was first introduced.

Many Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Ghana lauded government for the drug policy reform.

One of the stated purposes of Ghana’s new drug law is to treat drug use and dependence as a public health issue.

The new law has converted the prison term for drug possession for personal use into a fine of between 200-500 penalty units (translating to GH¢2,400 – GH¢6,000).

This does not mean that drug use has been legalised but offering alternatives to people who would have been sent to prison for up to 10 years for simple possession of drugs for personal use.

This is in line with programmes and policies to decongest Ghana’s prisons, notably the Justice for All programme, instituted in 2007.

What has been legalised in the law is cannabis with not more than 0.3 percent THC, which is mostly used in the production of jute sacks for cocoa and other produce.

The licit ones have THC of not more than 0.3 percent while the illicit ones have a THC concentration of 75 percent.

What is currently grown in Ghana is the Indian hemp, which is one of the cannabis family and has a THC concentration of 75 percent, which makes people very high or intoxicated when they smoked it.

Anything above THC lever of 0.3 per cent is a High-Grade Substance, which is currently prohibited by law.

Source: GNA

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