Issuance of Licence to Institutions to plant “wee” Law unconstitutional – says Supreme Court 

The Supreme Court in a 4-3 majority decision on Wednesday declared as unconstitutional a section of the Narcotic Control Commission Act, 2020 (1019) which permitted licence to be issued to an institution to cultivate a small amount of cannabis, widely known as ‘wee’ in Ghana for industrial and medicinal functions.

The majority decision of the seven-member panel formed by Justices Jones Dotse, Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi held that Section 43 of Act 1019 violated Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution, which details the processes a bill must undergo before it is passed into law by Parliament, and therefore,  declared it invalid.

Justices Nene Amegatcher, Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey and Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu dissented.

Consequently, Section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) was declared null and void and struck out as unconstitutional as it contravenes the letter and spirit of the 1992 Constitution, particularly Article 106 (2) (a) (b), (5) and (6) thereof,” the court held.

The case was filed by one Ezuame Mannan against the Attorney-General.

Full details of the ruling was not immediately provided by the court but announced that the full details would be available at the court’s registry.

 by August 11, 2022.

 Section 43 of Act 1019 stipulates that “the Minister on the recommendation of the Commission, may grant a licence for the cultivation of cannabis popularly referred to as “wee” in Ghana, which is not more than 0.3 per cent, the content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for obtaining fibre or seed for medicinal purposes.”

Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution titled “Mode of Exercising Legislative Powers” explains the processes a bill must go through before it can be passed into law by Parliament.

Article 106 (2) states that “No bill, other than such a bill as is referred to in paragraph (a) of Article 108 of this constitution, shall be introduced in parliament unless –

(a) it is accompanied by an explanatory memorandum setting out in detail the policy and principles of the bill, the defects of the existing law, the remedies proposed to deal with those defects and the necessity for its introduction ,

(b) it has been published in the Gazette at least fourteen days before the date of its introduction in Parliament”

Article 106(5) of the 1992 Constitution states that “where a bill has been deliberated upon by the appropriate committee, it shall be reported to Parliament, while Article 106 (6) specifies that “the report of the committee, together with the explanatory memorandum to the bill, shall form the basis for a full debate on the bill for its passage, with or without amendments, or its rejection, by Parliament.”

Cultivation of Indian hemp locally called ‘weed’ has been authorised in Ghana but growers require a license.

This was after Ghana joined African countries such as Malawi, Zambia and South Africa in 2020 with the passage of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) to explore the use of cannabis for scientific and medical use.

These African countries passed bills through their legislature to authorise the use of cannabis for the scientific and medicinal use.

BY NANA BENTSI ODURO

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