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Other countries are making money from cannabis but Ghana is losing out – Speaker Bagbin

The Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has said that while other countries are making millions of Dollars from the cultivation of cannabis for industrial use, Ghana is losing out.

To that end, he has expressed concern over a decision by the Supreme Court that the Clause in the bill that is seeking to amend the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) to empower the Minister of Interior to grant a license for the cultivation of cannabis for industrial use or for medicinal purposes, was unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court struck out the law on granting licence to grow cannabis, popularly known as ‘wee’, 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.

But the Speaker who indicated that the country is losing out because of this decision, said he made his displeasure over the ruling known to the justices of the apex court in a meeting and urged them to consult Parliament for proper briefings whenever they are making such decisions.

He said these after the presentation and the first reading of the Narcotics Regulation Commission Amendment Bill, 2023, by the Minister of Interior, Ambrose Dery on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, July 6.

“I hope that the three arms of government will work together and respect each other. In cases of doubt, it is important to consult the other arm before giving finality to whatever decision the other arm wants to take.

“I don’t think that it is proper for the judiciary to, without knowing how we conduct our business here, really go into how we conduct the business and make such an important decision without consulting the house, that is improper. I have made this known to them and I want this to be known publicly, this is for the benefit of the country. So please, committee, you are given one week to submit your report.”

Earlier when the Speaker paid a courtesy call on the management of Media General in Accra on Thursday, June 29 he stated that narcotics is one area the government can generate revenue domestically to fund development projects.

He explained that “One of the areas is narcotics, wee, because they use it in pharmaceuticals. Now you go for a surgical operation and most of the things they inject you with are from wee, the place becomes numb so when they cut you don’t feel anything at all.

“We put a small percentage zero point something when we were passing the Narcotics Control Commission Act, then they went and said immorality and they got somebody to take us to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court without checking with us said that Clause was not debated, and by Article 106, it means it is unconstitutional because it didn’t follow the procedure of debate.

“And So I called these judges and I told them, I don’t understand them, who debates what is agreed upon? When you are writing your judgments and you go and the lead judge writes his opinion and comes to read to you all and you all agree, do you debate it? No. So we debate things that we disagree with, things that we agree you don’t debate it.

“The constitutional provisions don’t say that everything must be debated even when there is a disagreement, it does make sense. But they struck out that section from the Narcotics Control Commission Act and so we lost.

“Canada uses it a lot to generate revenue and we had a lot of businessmen who wanted to invest in Ghana because this one is legal and could be controlled, it is only used for pharmaceuticals and you will earn a lot of money. So there are many ways to raise revenue, not e-levy.

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