Prof. Akwasi Osei – Slowly advance the large-scale production of “wee” in Ghana.


Professor Akwasi Osei , a former CEO of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), has encouraged the government to move cautiously toward the legalization of large-scale cannabis growing.

According to him, if caution is not exercised, individuals would grow the harmful variety of cannabis alongside the one required for medical purposes as a result of a lack of knowledge about the different varieties. Prof.

Prof. Osei argued that in order to reduce the difficulties the decision is expected to bring about, sufficient public education and sensitization should have taken place prior to the announcement.

He made the call after the Interior Minister regained the authority to authorize the growth of tiny amounts of cannabis, sometimes known as “wee” in Ghana, for both industrial and therapeutic uses.

The Narcotics Regulation Commission Amendment Bill, 2023 was enacted by Parliament last week [Wednesday, July 12, 2023]. Prof.

The Narcotics Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019), is amended by the new legislation.

The new one, which replaces section 43, now gives the Interior Minister the authority to provide a license for the production of cannabis, which is generally referred to in Ghana as “wee” but is more commonly known as “weed” in slang. Prof.

However, for industrial uses to obtain fiber or seed or for therapeutic purposes, this must have a dry weight basis Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level of no more than 0.3%.

Additionally, it forbids anyone with a license given under the Bill from growing cannabis for recreational purposes.

After the bill was reintroduced in Parliament as the Narcotics Regulation Commission Amendment Bill, 2023 to alter the Narcotics Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019), the Minister of the Interior was given more authority. Prof.

In accordance with Article 106 of the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s decision, the new section 43 gave Parliament the chance to discuss the policy justification for the provision. Prof.

Hasten slowly

However, Professor Akwasi Osei, a psychiatrist with extensive experience in mental health who recently left his position as CEO of the Ghana Mental Health Authority, stated that proper public education should have taken place before the announcement in a radio discussion program called Focus on GBC’s Uniiq Radio.  Prof.

This, he claimed, may have assisted in reducing the difficulties the relocation is expected to bring about.

According to him, if caution is not exercised, individuals would grow the harmful variety of cannabis alongside the one required for medical purposes as a result of a lack of knowledge about the different varieties. Prof.

Cannabis comes in a variety of forms, often three, but according to Prof. Osei, we are currently down to just two.

There are three types of cannabis: Indica, sativa, and ruderalis.

The distinction between sativa and indica, according to Prof. Osei, is that sativa contains the psychoactive compound THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.

He asserted, “When people desire to smoke for recreational purposes, it is the THC that causes one to get high. THC levels in indica are very low, at just 0.3 percent.

In fairness to the Parliament, he claimed, they have only approved cannabis indica since it contains up to 0.3% THC.

The decision of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Ezuame v. the Attorney General and the Speaker of Parliament on July 27, 2022, made the bill necessary.

In the aforementioned decision, the supreme court ruled that section 43 of Act 1019 was unconstitutional and thus invalid.

On July 28, 2022, a seven-member panel of the supreme court ruled by a 4-3 majority that Section 43 of Act 1019 was invalid because it violated Article 106 of the Constitution, which outlines the procedures a bill must go through before being voted into law by Parliament. Prof.

The court believed that the absence of discussion surrounding section 43 of Act 1019 constituted both a direct breach of Article 106 of the Constitution and a violation of the law’s spirit.

“There was glaringly no debate in Parliament over such a crucial and style of policy. It goes without saying that the Constitution’s requirements for transparency and accountability are violated by this behavior and method of legislating. Prof.

“In our opinion, the requirements of constitutional faithfulness demand that such a change in policy, which is intended to produce a novel exception, ought to be discussed in order to fulfill the requirements of Article 106.

In the absence of that, the Supreme Court ruled that Parliament’s procedure violated both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. Prof.

“This conclusion does not, in any way, derogate from Parliament’s power and independence in the conduct of its proceedings but in accordance with our supreme Constitution,” the court ruled.

According to Section 43 of Act 1019, “the Minister may grant a licence for the cultivation of cannabis, commonly known as “wee” in Ghana, which has not more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes of obtaining fiber or seed for medicinal purposes.”

Timeliness of the Bill

Ophelia Mensah, vice chair of the committee, moved a motion for the House to adopt the report of the Defence and Interior Committee that examined the bill. She stated that the committee met and decided the bill was urgent and should be taken under a certificate of urgency.

According to her, Ghana would profit greatly from giving the Interior Minister the authority to control cannabis growing as long as the THC content was less than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.

The Narcotic Control Commission and the Ministry of the Interior engaged in pre-laying engagement with the Parliamentary Committee on Subsidiary Legislation on the Draft Regulations of Act 1019, including provisions for operationalizing section 43 of the Act, it was brought to the Committee’s attention prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“The reintroduction of the said section, which was struck down as unconstitutional, will therefore restore the Act to its full original provisions and accordingly pave the way for the regulations to be laid in Parliament in accordance with Article 11 (7) of the Constitution and Order 77 of the Standing Orders of Parliament,” the speaker said.

The MP for Mfantseman added that information gathered by the committee showed that foreign investors had started making plans to start investing in cannabis cultivation before the Supreme Court ruling, including entering into agreements with local partners and joint venture companies.

In order to minimize potential losses to these interested investors, Mrs. Ophelia said, “There is therefore a need for some urgency in the passage of the Bill.”

Supreme Court Judgment

The Supreme Court declared Section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act 2020 (Act 1019) illegal in July of last year.

According to Section 43 of Act 1019, the Minister of the Interior may, on the advice of the Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC), award a company a license to cultivate cannabis with a Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level of not more than 0.3 for both industrial and medical uses.

The court ruled that the bill was unconstitutional because, as required by Article 106(5)(6) of the 1992 Constitution, no debate on it occurred in Parliament before it was passed into law.

The supreme court was once more of the considered opinion that the explanatory note attached to the measure submitted to Parliament did not detail the policy shift, the flaws in the present law, and the requirement to adopt a statute to authorize cannabis growing.

It concluded that such an omission violated Article 106 (2) of the 1992 Constitution.

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