Marijuana farming to be legalized in Ghana
Ghana has initiated processes to legalize the farming
or cultivation of Indian hemp (weed) under license.
In 2020, some countries in Africa, through their
national legislations, decided to permit the cultivation
and export of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes,
with some other countries authorizing the
use of cannabis for medical purposes.
Ghana, having passed the Narcotics Control Commission Act,
2020 (Act 1019) joined these African countries in
exploring the purported prospects in cannabis.
The Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019),
which was passed by Parliament on March 20, 2020,
and assented to by the President on May 11, 2020,
has enshrined special provisions relating to cannabis.
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Section 43 of Act 1019 states that, “the Minister,
on the recommendation of the Commission, may grant
a license for the cultivation of cannabis which has
not more than 0.3% THC content on a dry weight basis
for industrial purposes for obtaining fiber
or seed or for medicinal purposes.”
Currently in Ghana, the Narcotics Control Commission is in
the process of submitting to Parliament a Legislative Instrument (LI)
that will spell out in details how one can qualify for a license
to cultivate cannabis with less than 0.3% of THC and applicable
fees to pay for the issuance of such licence.
The Head of Communications and Media Relations at the
Narcotics Control Commission,
Francis Opoku Amoah made this known.
International Narcotics Control Board
According to the 2020 International Narcotics Control
Board (INCB) Report, in August 2020, the government of
South Africa submitted to the Parliament the Cannabis for
Private Purposes Bill of 2020, amending its Drugs and
Drug Trafficking Act (1992) to allow the cultivation and
use of cannabis by adults for personal use.
In the same INCB Report, the Parliament of Malawi approved
the Cannabis Regulation Bill of 2020, in February 2020,
permitting the cultivation of cannabis for medical,
industrial and scientific purposes.
Uganda also reported to INCB that, it had begun permitting
the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes.
Obligation on governments
Though some countries are permitting the cultivation of cannabis,
according to the INCB there is an obligation on the part
of governments that permit the cultivation of cannabis
to establish control measures in accordance with the
1961 Convention as amended. Such measures include
the establishment of an agency responsible for
designating areas and issuing licences for cultivation.
The countries that are permitting the cultivation
of cannabis are performing this obligation.
In Malawi, their Bill also establishes a national cannabis
agency to issue licences to cultivate cannabis
and regulate the industry within Malawi.
The government of Uganda, had also drafted guidelines to
assist the Minister of Health in determining which cultivators
should be granted licences to cultivate cannabis.
“I know that the Commission is working hard to make sure that,
it presents a solid Legislative Instrument that will reflect how
the hemp industry will be regulated in
the country,” Mr Amoah explained.
“I am well aware of the interest generated by the special provision
relating to cultivation of Cannabis which has not more than 0.3%
THC content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for
obtaining fiber or seed or for medicinal purposes in the country.
So many groups, companies and individuals have applied to
the Commission for licence in order to legally engage in the
cultivation of this species of cannabis when
the LI is passed by Parliament,” Mr Amoah added.
Interested person(s) have argued that, the emerging industry
can provide employment and generate
enormous revenue for the government.
Cannabis still illegal
The special provision relating to cannabis in section 43 of
Act 1019 does NOT in any way constitute the LEGALIZATION
or DECRIMINALIZATION of cannabis cultivation and/or use.
As such, the cultivation, production, distribution, sale
and consumption of cannabis remain prohibited by law.
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The Commission further reiterates and herein inform the
general public that, it has not issued licence to any entity,
individual or group of individuals to cultivate cannabis or
conduct any business related to cannabis. The public should
therefore refrain from making payments to any entity,
individual or group of individuals for purposes of
engaging in any business related to cannabis.
That, the Commission will make it public the modalities for
the issuance of licence for the conduct of business
relating to cannabis, once the LI is passed by Parliament.