Pres explains Narcotics Control C’ssion Act 2020

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has clarified that the passage of the Narcotics Control Commission Act 2020, (Act 1019) does not mean the recreational use and trafficking of cannabis has been legalised or decriminalised in Ghana.

He said section 43 of the Act only allows for the cultivation of cannabis, which has not more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) content on dry weight basis, for industrial purposes for obtaining fibre or seed or for medicinal purposes.   

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects.

President Akufo-Addo stated this a speech read on his behalf by the Minister for the Interior,Mr Ambrose Dery, at the commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and illicit trafficking in Accra, on Monday.

The programme, which was aimed at creating awareness about the harmful impact of drug abuse,was on the theme:“Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises.”

The President noted that for many decades, drug trafficking has been a growing global concern and most African countries, including Ghana, have suffered the brunt of drug trafficking in diverse ways.

“The international trade in illicit drugs threaten good governance, justice system, peace and security of sovereign states, economic growth, and public health among others,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo said drug trafficking has been identified as a major source of funding for insurgent or terrorist groups and contributed immensely to the persistent instability in most parts of the world, especially in West Africa, where, for decades, such negative elements operated.

“Drug trafficking is, therefore, an important factor to be considered when assessing the cause of conflicts in Africa chiefly in the Sahel region.”

The President said West Africa was affected by a combination of factors making it vulnerable to illicit trafficking, organised crime, terrorism and drug abuse.

He stated that West Africa has become a major transit and repackaging hub for cocaine and heroin, emanating from the Latin American and Asian countries destined for European and North American markets.

“This development is the bedrock of the increasing local consumption of illicit drugs in West African countries, including Ghana. Ghana, and like many other African countries, has become a destination, and transit country for drugs,”The President added

The acting Director General of NACOC, Mr Kenneth Adu-Amanfoh, said the task of the Commission was to protect young people and not to expose them to danger.

“We need to put more effort into treatment and rehabilitation, to break the habit of those who have become dependent on drugs. We need to reinforce the determined efforts of these young people to kick the habit and help bring success to them and joy to their families,” he said.

A representative of the Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, Dr Osei Bonsu Dickson, assured of government’s commitment to NACOC in tackling illicit drug use in the country.

He stressed the need for increase in awareness creation on the dangers of the use of illicit drugs.

The Deputy Head of Missions at the British High Commission, Mr Keith McMahon, stated that there was massive cost from drugs and it was important for more attention to be given to drug issues in the country.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr Charles Abani, said “It was relevant for Africa including Ghana to adopt regulations for the production of cannabis for the medical and industrial purposes which is very essential”.

BY ANITA NYARKO -YIRENKYI

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