By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai



The statement attributed to Mr.? Yaw Akrasi Sarpong of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) regarding marijuana has without doubt taken many well meaning Ghanaians by surprise.? As the executive secretary of?? NACOB, he is expected to know better that his words regarding marijuana or any illicit drug carries a lot of weight. Therefore he is required to be careful with ?his statements when the media gets in touch with him. Due to the strict laws regarding drugs, those in the trade who feel threatened are engaged in under cover trade. However when marijuana is legalized in Ghana its cultivation and sale would be ?in the open instead of ?the ??hide and seek?? method now employed by wee traders. The new freedom for wee trade would lead ???to increase its ?cultivation of the stuff ??in all parts of the country over and above the cultivation of food crops for export and distribution. ?It would also entice many youth to marijuana trade and use ???with the fear of them experimenting the smoking of cigarettes and use of ?hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. When marijuana is legalized we should not be surprised when????? someone else calls for the legalization of cocaine and heroin and other hard drugs. This development when allowed to occur ??would be counterproductive as many people willing to? get rich quick? might jump into marijuana cultivation and deal in hard drugs? instead of food crops . Because wee smoking is related to crimes criminal activities among the youth might go up. Is that what we want to happen in Ghana? ??Perhaps Mr. Akrasi Sarpong did not give serious?? thought to the repercussions of his words concerning marijuana.??? Since the call by the executive director of NACOB towards?? legalizing marijuana is considered wrong, the ?deafening silence? of the governing board of NACOB and government over that suggestion is to say the least unacceptable. NACOB Board and Government have the responsibility to speak on this matter. ?Currently the cultivation, possession, trafficking and sale of Indian hemp constitute illegality in Ghana. As a result the security agencies have been ???arresting producers, distributors and consumers of the stuff as evidenced by a number of arrests recorded at our ports and city centers and the destruction of wee farms. The government through the police and law enforcing agencies and foreign partners had devised different means of arresting a number of peddlers and exporters of marijuana.??? As a result many Ghanaians and their foreign accomplices who have fallen foul of the law concerning Indian hemp have been arrested and are serving time in prisons across Ghana. The reason for this is that the smoking of Indian hemp has been found to be harmful to the health of our people. We need to intensify the arrest of culprits in the? drug? trade ?instead of backsliding in our efforts against ?drug trade and consumption. The Chief Psychiatrist of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi has cautioned the country against endorsing any proposal for marijuana, otherwise referred to as ?wee? in Ghana to be legalized.

He condemned the argument by Mr. Akrasi Sarpong that the increase in use and sale of Indian hemp in the country was gradually eroding the public perception that the substance was legally prohibitive. He also kicked against the argument that the use of Indian hemp for medicinal purpose and as hair food cannot be good enough reason to legalize marijuana in Ghana.

Professor Joseph Bediako Asare, Former Chief Psychiatrist and the current head of the psychiatric hospital Dr Akwasi Osei, Chief Psychiatrist, Accra Psychiatric Hospital have kicked against the legalization of Indian hemp. They both said that it would lead to increase in the smoking of the stuff in Ghana. Both men testify to the fact that large chunk of the youth who end up in the mental hospitals in Ghana are wee smokers. Dr Akwasi Osei says that 10 percent of patients on admission at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital? and 30 per cent outpatient? cases are drug related. If the call for the legalization of marijuana is based on its endorsement in Europe and America then that is wrong. Most of the nations that legalized marijuana now regret doing so. According to Dr. Gordon Donnir, the Chief Psychiatrist at Komfo Anokye Hospital, most countries where laws have been reviewed to accommodate the free use of marijuana are looking for a way out of it because of the debilitating consequences emanating from the blatant use of Indian hemp.

Yes currently easy access to wee ?has led to many youth moving ?en-mass? into smoking the stuff ?with serious consequences to the health of the youth and its effect on the economies of the nations of Europe and America.

Mr. Akrasi Sarpong might have made his suggestion because of the use of marijuana to produce pomades and other products now on our markets. That cannot be a good enough excuse for relaxing the law against wee trade and consumption. While only a few people might use the pomades a large number of youth would smoke the hemp a situation that can prove costly to the youth (some of whom might be students and productive forces) and ?their families and

the nation. Mr. Akrasi Sarpong is no doubt? ?a fine gentleman but he must rise above the scheme by forces outside Ghana to destroy the nation and its people through increased marijuana trade and use . It is advisable for him to? ?discuss issues regarding drugs with his colleagues and his board before coming out to speak to the media and the public. Otherwise he would continue to be coaxed into saying things in contravention of the law setting up the NACOB. Mr. Akrasi Sarpong must remember that ?NACOB was set up to among other things implement provisions of existing legislation and international conventions on narcotics, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals, through enforcement and control, education and preventive measures, as well as treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts. Until the law is amended Mr. Akrasi Sarpong is enjoined to live with it. The question to ask is: did the boss of NACOB really call for debate and possible? legalization of wee in Ghana?


Executive Director


P.O.BOX 17070AN??? 233244370345/23326370345/ 233208844791

[email protected] / [email protected]


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