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APPLY A HOLISTIC APPROACH TOWARDS CANNABIS, PRO OF RCG ADVICES PARLIAMENT By Sena Dogbe

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Rastafari Council of Ghana, Kofi Asante Mireku, on Monday 23rd of March, 2020 advised parliament to apply a holistic approach in the cannabis legalization conversation to enable our nation to harness the entire benefits from the diverse species of the plant.

He said this on an interview on NEAT, 100.9 FM when asked if the RCG was satisfied with the new law and its implications. Ras Kofi Asante observed that the passage of the Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019, into law provides partial freedom by decriminalizing Hemp while criminalizing other cannabis species with more than 0.3% THC (Psychoactive Potency).

“This victory is the first step,” Royal Kofi Asante said because it demonstrates the political will of the current Administration to engage in the cannabis legalization conversation thereby demystifying the public misconception about the plant. He applauded Parliament for the decision saying it promotes research and increased knowledge and decriminalizes drug addicts. He, however, cautioned the government through further regulations to ensure that the benefits of this law be reaped by the local farming class and not the bourgeoisies of the capitalistic world economy.

“Cannabis should be removed from the schedule of controlled substances because it has limited potential for abuse, it’s safer compared to other substances and this will encourage medical research and make it more accessible to patients,” Ras Kofi Asante recommended when asked about the way forward. He reminded the technocrats and lawmakers that in a lecture organized by the West Africa Drug Policy Network in partnership with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior held in 2019, Professor Carl Hart of the Colombia University debunked views that purport that cannabis addiction is a mental health issue. “The view of drug use and drug addiction as a brain disease serves to perpetuate unrealistic, costly, and discriminatory drug policies “. He shared a quote from Prof. Carl Hart.  Ras Kofi Asante added that advocacy groups will continue to engage the Commission, Parliament and other stakeholders and require them to be guided by the science of cannabis in order to enact laws that will ensure Ghana reaps of the full benefits of cannabis, whiles protecting the rights and freedoms of the Ghanaian citizenry.

The President of the Hemp Association of Ghana (HAG), Nana Kwaku Agyemang in other related news revealed to Africa Feeds that his organization has already signed a deal with a Portuguese based Ghanaian cannabis business operator with an expectant gross of $56 million in five years from cultivating and exporting industrial hemp from a 100 acres piece of land. Gross tax to the Ghanaian government is estimated to be well over $10 million from every 100 acres.

Ghana’s Parliament on Friday 20th March 2020 passed into law the Narcotic Control Commission Bill, 2019, which transforms the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) into a Commission with enhanced powers to control and eliminate trafficking of prohibited Narcotic drugs. The enhanced status of the Commission will enable it to ensure public safety as well as oversee the rehabilitation of people who become addicted to drugs.

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