As recreational marijuana use becomes a legal reality in more states, policymakers are adapting longtime tools for preventing substance misuse to safeguard public health, including protecting youth from harmful effects.
The Excutive Director for Perfector of Sentiments Foundation, (POS), Jonathan Osei Owusu, has stated that drug use must be seen as a public health and human rights matter rather than it been criminal.
He said that Ghana should treat marijuana dependence as a public health issue rather than focusing on law enforcement, incarceration, punishment and repression.
According to him, a person seen with marijuana should not be jailed for three to five years according to the PNDC law 236, adding that there is reforms on going.
He indicated that his foundation has not legalized weed but marijuana use not trafficking or trade should be considered as public health.
Jonathan Osei Owusu says legalizing “weed” isn’t about getting people high: “We are not promoting smoking, we are promoting the industry, we are promoting cleaning up the environment, we are promoting creating a new revenue stream for government in terms of taxing from cultivation and export and we are talking about promoting medicines that are far better than opioids, medicines that cannot kill you because no one has died from taking Weed or Marijuana .”
He also noted that, ” drug use is a public health matter and a human right issue per the new Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019). And so , we should see some mercy for those who are already imprison”
Speaking at a media engagement on Friday, 29th July 2022 at Koforidua, he urged the media to speak in a clear language to the understanding of the people.
He also thank all stakeholders and partners for making this workshop a massive success.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Hon. Seth Acheampong also said that, he is happy they were able to pass Narcotics Control Commission Act 2020 (Act 1019) during his time in parliament as the Chair for parliamentary committee for defense and interior.
He added that, the law does not run away from substances that would cause damage to the human body.
He commended the group for such engagement towards marijuana.
Parliament of Ghana passes historic new drug law
On Friday, 20th March 2022, the Parliament of Ghana passed the Narcotics Control Commission Bill into law. This brought great excitement to many who have been following the legislative process since 2015, when the Bill was first introduced. Many civil society organizations (CSOs) in Ghana laud the Government for this significant moment in the history of drug policy reform in the country. The new law makes huge inroads towards more humane drug policy, and will pave way for other good examples to emerge in the sub-region.
One of the stated purposes of Ghana’s new drug law is to treat drug use and dependence as a public health issue. The new law has converted the prison term for drug possession for personal use into a fine of between 200-500 penalty units (translating to GHC 2,400 – 6,000). This does not mean that drug use has been legalised, as portrayed by some media outlets. It means that instead of sending people to prison for up to 10 years for simple possession of drugs for personal use, they will offer alternatives to incarceration.
“The fundamental goal of drug policies should be to improve the health, safety, security and socio-economic well-being of people by adopting appropriate measures to combat illicit crop cultivation and use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as well as its associated substance,” a report on the Bill said.
Source: TodayGhanaMedia.com / Afia Ampofowaah – News Head of Ahenkan FM
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