Five persons have been arrested by the Forestry Commission (FC) office in the Afram Plains North District of the Eastern Region for cultivating 80 hectares of cannabis farm in Obuo Akroma Forest Reserve in the area and possessing three maxi-sacks and six medium-size sacks, as well as five plastic containers filled with the harvested cannabis among other items like machetes. (Read story in page 3 of this issue).
In fact, arrests of dealers in cannabis in the country, whether as cultivators, traders, pushers or even smokers and their resistance to the arrests are no longer strange.
This is because the cultivation and sale of the narcotic substance, otherwise known in the country as wee, go on unabated.
This must prompt the country, as a whole, to interrogate the situation and see how effectively it can be handled for sanity to prevail.
It is not far-fetched that with the exception of the smokers, the other dealers derive financial benefits.
The Johnson & Wales University (JWU) in the Rhode Island, US, has an article titled ‘Potential Health Benefits of Cannabis’ published online on September 22, 2021, whose contents are instructive:
Among other assertions, the article states that cannabis consists of more than 120 components, which are known as cannabinoids, and that cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most researched.
THC creates the “high” many people associate with cannabis, while CBD is a non-intoxicating, non-euphoric component in some oils, gummies, drinks and other products for medical purposes.”
The article then discusses health benefits of cannabis to include lowering blood pressure; reducing inflammation; preventing relapse in drug and alcohol addiction; treating anxiety and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders; preventing seizures; and fighting cancer.
Information on Medical News Today, a web-based outlet for medical information and news, corroborates this, but not without mentioning some risks, though, and goes ahead to state that in June 2018, the US approved some cannabinoids for the treatment of some types of epilepsy.
Some countries like Canada, Uruguay, the US, and South Africa have legalised wee while others like The Netherlands, Peru, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Switzerland and Czech Republic have decriminalised it.
In Uruguay, for instance, adult citizens and residents can grow their own cannabis, join a cannabis club or buy it.
Similarly, in South Africa, adults are allowed to possess, cultivate or use cannabis in private.
Some states in the US like Arizona legalised marijuana in 2020 and following that, a total of $3.7 billion was collected in 2021, more than double tax revenue generated in 2019 from it.
Cannabis industry contributed $34.2 bn to Canada’s GDP from 2018 to 2021.
Uruguay began to export marijuana in 2019 and doubled exports in 2020 to $7.3 million.
Canada-based Instadose Pharma Corp estimates that the African cannabis market will be worth over $7bn annually by 2023.
The Ghanaian Times believes this figure can be more than 10-fold, if all African countries legalise wee, including Ghana.
The country should, therefore, follow the international conventions available and see what it can do to legalise wee for revenue mobilisation and job creation, while the experts handle its various uses and the risks.