Editorial: Supreme Court judgement on NACOC Act is apt

The Supreme Court, according to citinewsroom.com, has upheld its decision to strike out provisions in the Narcotic Control Commission Act that allowed for the cultivation of certain kinds of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes. The review application filed by the office of the Attorney General was dismissed in a 5-4 decision.

According to the report, the Supreme Court had earlier ruled in favour of an applicant who invoked the original jurisdiction of the apex court to strike the provision, which was legislated in violation of Article 106 of the 1992 constitution. The applicant had argued that the said provision was introduced without an explanatory memorandum as mandated by law.

The apex court, after considering the review application dismissed it for not meeting the threshold. In July last year, the online portal continued, the apex court struck out and described as unconstitutional, Section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act 2020 (Act 1019).

Section 43 of Act 1019 allows the Minister of the Interior, upon the recommendation of the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC) to grant an entity the licence to cultivate cannabis of not more than 0.3 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content for industrial and medicinal purposes.

The court held that the law was unconstitutional because there was no debate in Parliament on it before its passage into law, as stipulated by Article 106 (5) (6) of the 1992 Constitution.

Though the Attorney General did not commit any offence in pursuit of this case, The Chronicle does not think it would have augured well for the country if the apex court had accepted his pleadings.

Most of the mental patients we see on our streets today, especially the youth, according to health experts, are as a result of excessive consumption of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine among others.

Though there are laws that ban the cultivation and smoking of cannabis in Ghana, with the offender likely to spend 10 years in prison, it has not deterred a section of the population from cultivating and smoking cannabis.

One can, therefore, imagine what would happen in this country if the state allows cultivation of cannabis for industrial and medicinal purposes. Though one may argue that the cultivation under the law that has now been struck down by the Supreme Court will be regulated and that no one can abuse the system – that cannot be fool-proof.

In our opinion, if the law had been allowed to stand, the current situation would have gotten worse because it would embolden people, especially farmers, to cultivate cannabis on a large scale, under the guise of being allowed by the law to do so.

It is upon the basis of this that The Chronicle thinks the Supreme Court judgement is apt, because it is going to save the future of our youth from drug abuse.

Of course, if we, as a newspaper, is gloating over the Supreme Court judgement that has, in a nutshell, stopped the pharmaceutical companies in Ghana from cultivating cannabis for medicinal purposes,  one may also ask: which country should allow the cultivate for you to import the medicine into Ghana?

This question, we believe, is a legitimate one, but whilst those countries cultivating the cannabis may genuinely be doing so for medicinal purposes, we dare say the situation may not be same in Ghana.  Criminals, as we had already alluded to, will certainly take advantage of the situation to illegally produce the cannabis without thinking about the concomitant effect on the youth and adults who smoke them.

The Chronicle, therefore, insists that the judgement delivered by the Supreme Court should be applauded because it is going to serve the larger interest of mother Ghana.


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