Prime News Ghana

Legalization of cannabis will worsen its abuse in Ghana - Mental Health Authority

By Mutala Yakubu

The Mental Health Authority has raised fears over the passage of the bill legalizing the growing of cannabis for health purposes in Ghana.

They believe that the legalization of 'wee' will worsen the abuse of the narcotic substance in the country.

Parliament recently passed into law the Narcotics Control Commission Bill 2019 allowing for the cultivation of cannabis for industrial purposes.

READ ALSO: Cannabis legalized in Ghana for health and industrial purposes only

Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority Dr Akwesi Osei says the public is not ready for the law because people can not distinguish between industrial and recreational cannabis.

"The concern is that as at now many people can not make a distinction between the cannabis indica and the cannabis sativa. Even as at now the type of cannabis that people are using which is the indica, the leaves resemble that of cassava and tomatoes so some farmers plant indica in the midst of these crops and you will not see any difference".

The new law makes the country’s Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) a Commission with enhanced powers to oversee the industrial use of some narcotic substances.

The Commission, however, will have the mandate to control and eliminate the trafficking of prohibited narcotic drugs to ensure public safety.

With the legalization of Cannabis for industrial and health purposes, Ghana joins countries like Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa who are changing their laws on narcotics.

Ghana’s new laws will make room for cannabis to be used to make medicines and hemp fibres.

Ghana is hoping to rake in some revenue as well when industrial production of cannabis begins.