The debate concerning the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis use, has resurfaced and rapper Kwaw Kese does not want to be left out of the conversation. In a reaction to a story in Daily Graphic which said, “Uganda has secured contracts to export medical marijuana products to Canada and Germany worth more than $140 million in June”, “Abodam” in a twitter post boasted that he’ll create as many as five thousand jobs for Ghanaians if the herb is legalized. “I’ll employ 5000 people in my farm if Ghana legalize medical marijuana”, he tweeted.
Call it a a coincidence but Kwaw seems to have picked the right day to have spoken about this as today, 23rd April, 2019, marks exactly four years since he was sentenced to a day imprisonment for smoking weed. He also joins notable personalities like John Dumelo, Kwame Sefa Kayi and the late UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan who have all at one point in time called for the decriminalization and subsequent legalization of the drug. The president of the Rastafari Council Ghana during the 4th National Conference of the council in Kumasi in the past week also called on the president to legalize marijuana so that the country can reap its economic benefits to support the Ghana beyond aid agenda and other government policies.
Despite its proven medicinal and economic benefits which are the lead arguments for its legalization, mental health experts also argue that legalization of the substance and its long term use poses a great danger to the psychological and mental well being of the populace especially in the latter years of life.
Weed or Cannabis or marijuana is not illegal in Ghana but the modalities of its use is what not seems to be clear by law. Section 1 of the Narcotic drugs (control, enforcement and sanctions) law 1990, (PNDC law 236) states that:
- Any person who imports or exports any narcotic drug without a licence issued by the secretary for health for that purpose commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term not less than ten years.
Section 5 of that same law states that: No person shall without lawful authority or excuse smoke, sniff, consume or inject in his body or otherwise administer narcotic drug in his body.