Ghana Legalizes Cannabis and Changes Drug Abuse Laws
Ghana, the first black African country south of the Sahara that achieved independence from colonial rule, has just recently legalized cannabis for health and industrial purposes.
Its natural wealth has made Ghana not only a major player on the African continent, but also a leader in the fight to amend laws on narcotics (particularly cannabis) alongside other African countries such as Malawi, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
Still, the recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in Ghana, yet the country wants to utilize the health and economic benefits that this plant provides. Ghana’s Parliament has recently passed the Narcotics Control Commission Bill of 2019 and formed a board (the Narcotics Control Board — NACOB) to oversee the industrial use of cannabis and other narcotics.
In addition to promoting the industrial use of cannabis, Ghana will also amend the law regarding drug abuse. In the future, it will be treated as a public health issue, not a criminal issue.
Moreover, the new law also limits the allowed levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — lower than 0.3%, to be precise. This THC content aligns more with the levels of THC found in hemp plants — which can’t get users high — as the president of the Hemp Association of Ghana, Nana Kwaku Agyemang, had confirmed.
What’s more, Agyemang added that Ghana did not, in fact, promote the smoking of cannabis but merely the industry, as well as cleaning the environment. Agyemang also said that Ghana wants to promote the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant and create revenue for the government, which would come from taxing the cultivation and export of cannabis.
It’s worth noting that Ghana has not yet made medicinal cannabis legal. What the country did was legalize hemp, its cultivation, including all the CBD- and hemp-based products that would be used in place of traditional medicines. Moreover, hemp fibers can also be used to make paper, clothes, biofuel, and other products.
Industrial deals have already been signed. The Hemp Association of Ghana just signed a new deal with a Ghanaian-led cannabis business based in Portugal. This deal will make Ghana $56 million over the course of five years just from the cultivation and export of industrial hemp alone — grown on a 100-acre land. On such a surface, each harvest is expected to rake in $2.8 million, which could earn the Ghanian Parliament an additional $10 million in taxes.
It seems that Ghana will benefit from this law in several ways — its citizens will get a healthier option to traditional medicines, cheaper cotton alternative, and the country itself will earn millions in profit.