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Is Weed Legal in Ghana? (April 2024)

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The legality of cannabis in Ghana is controversial. In March 2020, Ghana's parliament approved the Narcotics Control Commission Bill, granting permission for the utilization and cultivation of cannabis specifically for medical and industrial purposes, focusing on the hemp variety.

Under the new legislation, the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the plants, which is responsible for the psychoactive effects, must remain below 0.3%. This aligns with the threshold set by the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill for legal hemp cultivation. However, the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol (CBD), believed to possess health benefits, can be extracted from hemp. It's important to note that recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in Ghana.

According to Nana Kwaku Agyemang, president of the Hemp Association of Ghana, the aim of legalizing hemp is not to encourage drug use, but rather to promote various industries, environmental cleanup initiatives, generate new revenue through taxation of cultivation and exports, and explore medicinal applications that offer advantages over opioids.

In a surprising turn of events, the Supreme Court of Ghana issued a narrow ruling on July 27, 2022, concerning a case challenging the constitutionality of section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act. This section pertained to the issuance of licenses for the cultivation of medical cannabis.

This decision comes as a surprise considering that the Narcotics Control Commission Act had recently legalized the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes in 2020, effectively replacing the previous Narcotics Drugs Act of 1990.

In an interesting turn of events, the decision to “legalize cannabis” was overturned in May 2023, for the second time. In a majority decision of 5-4, the Supreme Court has affirmed its stance that the law permitting the cultivation of cannabis in Ghana was unconstitutionally passed by Parliament.

Presiding Judge Justice Dotse stated that the party seeking to review the judgment has not met the threshold required to do so.

In July 2022, the court invalidated Section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, Act 1019. This section allowed the Minister, based on the Commission's recommendation, to grant licenses for the cultivation of cannabis, commonly known as “wee” in Ghana, as long as it contained less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. The licenses were intended for industrial purposes, such as obtaining fiber or seed for medicinal use. However, in a majority decision of 4-3, the Supreme Court nullified this provision, citing a violation of Article 106 of the 1992 constitution.

That said, cannabis continues to be the illicit drug of choice in Ghana. Ghana is known to have the highest rate of cannabis use in Africa and ranks third globally. During the 1990s, the prevalence of cannabis expanded beyond urban areas like bars and nightclubs and reached rural regions as well. Cannabis became closely associated with the youth engaged in Rastafari culture and students who believed that using cannabis could enhance their study abilities.

 

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.