The decision made by the Supreme Court on cannabis cultivation in the nation has been praised by the Mental Health Authority (MHA).
The authorities claimed that it was happy with the decision since allowing the growth of the drug would have been detrimental to the nation.
“We are thrilled since some of us predicted that Ghanaians would face unimaginable problems as a result of the legalization of cannabis cultivation. The Chief Executive Officer of the MHA, Dr. Akwasi Osei, told the Daily Graphic in Accra that it was apparent that it would lead to medical concerns, mental health issues, or possibly cancer.
While acknowledging that growing cannabis could have economic advantages, Dr. Osei stated in an interview with the Daily Graphic regarding the Supreme Court decision that it was important to take into account the negative effects and consequences on Ghanaians and understand that “the economic advantages will nowhere be near the adverse consequences.”
According to him, the authority wrote to Parliament during the bill’s consideration and to the President after it had been approved, urging them not to pass the legislation.
Despite the MHA’s worries, the measure was enacted without the proper consultations with mental health specialists, he claimed.
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Therefore, I am glad that the Supreme Court has ruled that it is unlawful for us to pass legislation without proper consultation. I appreciate that decision.
“It is always crucial to have a wider and thorough stakeholder participation to adopt such a law, especially when there are hazards, as well as benefits,” he said.
A part of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) that permits organizations to be granted licenses to cultivate small amounts of cannabis, also known as “wee” in Ghana, for industrial and therapeutic uses, was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court on July 27, 2022.
A seven-member panel of the supreme court ruled in a 4-3 judgment that Section 43 of Act 1019 was invalid because it violated Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution, which outlines the procedures a bill must go through before being enacted into law by Parliament.
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The plaintiff’s claim is successful. In light of the fact that Section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) violates both the letter and spirit of the Constitution of 1992, specifically Article 106 (2) (a) (b), (5) and (6), the court deemed it to be unconstitutional and declared it null and void.
Case in court
One Ezuame Mannan sued the Attorney-General in the lawsuit that resulted in the ruling.
Justices Jones Dotse, Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi were on the majority side.
Dissident justices included Nene Amegatcher, Nii Ashie Kotey, and Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu.
The court stated that the entire justifications for its ruling will be filed at its registry by August 11, 2022, but it did not provide them.
The MHA CEO stated that such a law could not be passed without the necessary mental health officials being involved and expressed the hope that the decision would stand in the event of a review.
“What they need to do is get in touch with us again, as that was one of the Supreme Court’s strongest arguments. We will inform them about the effects of cannabis cultivation if they return to us.
“Eventually, if they continue to pass it, I will utter the proverb “woe unto us, for we shall reap the repercussions in a few years. Parliament will be directly responsible for the law’s passage, and it should accept the consequences, he emphasized.
Act 1019’s Section 43 states: “The Minister may grant a licence for the cultivation of cannabis, commonly referred to as “wee” in Ghana, for industrial purposes to obtain fiber or seed for medicinal purposes, provided that such cultivation does not exceed 0.3 percent THC content on a dry weight basis.”
The 1992 Constitution’s “Mode of Exercising Legislative Powers” Article 106 addresses the procedures that must be followed before a measure may be approved by Parliament and become law.
No bill, other than the kind referred to in Article 108, Paragraph (a), of this Constitution, shall be introduced in Parliament unless it complies with the following requirements: (a) it is accompanied by an explanatory memorandum outlining in detail the policy and principles of the bill, the shortcomings of the existing law, the remedies proposed to address those shortcomings, and the necessity for its introduction; (b) it has been published in the Gazette at least 14 days prior before the date of its introduction in Parliament.”
“Where a bill has been deliberated upon by the appropriate committee, it shall be reported to Parliament,” states Article 106(5) of the 1992 Constitution, and “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,” states Article 106(6).