Ghana’s President Set to Sign Legislation for Hemp and Medical Marijuana

The Ghana Parliament Passes Bill to Open Up Industrial Hemp and Medical Cannabis Market

The Ghana Parliament has recently approved a legislation that could potentially pave the way for the industrial hemp and medical cannabis market in the country. The measure, officially known as the Narcotics Control Commission Amendment Bill 2023, has secured the approval of the Parliament and is now awaiting the signature of President Nana Akufo-Addo to become law. While there is no set timeline for when the President will make a decision, this development represents a major leap forward for the industry in Ghana.

Provisions in the Bill

Under the proposed provisions in the bill, the licensing for industrial hemp and medical cannabis will be under the jurisdiction of the country’s Interior Ministry. Separate permits will be required for cultivation, distribution, processing, sale, import, and export of these products. Additionally, the bill sets the THC limit for hemp at 0.3% on a dry-weight basis, and while it does not explicitly legalize CBD over the counter, it could potentially open up opportunities for its use as a medicine.

Significant Milestone

This move is a significant milestone for Ghana as it seeks to align itself with global reforms in cannabis laws. Lawmakers identified this as a priority in 2020, leading to the passing of the Narcotics Control Commission Act (NCCA) that year. The NCCA legalized the use of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes and granted oversight to the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), a part of the Ministry of Interior. However, the NCCA faced criticism from stakeholders and was later declared unconstitutional by the country’s high court due to a lack of parliamentary debate.

Envisioned Strategy

Stakeholders in Ghana have been vocal proponents of hemp as a means to address environmental concerns and to generate tax revenue. A report by Chinese researchers, based on a study conducted in 2021, suggested that Ghana has the potential to cultivate hemp as a raw material for export and manufacture semi-finished products for the domestic market. Furthermore, the report highlights the opportunity for hemp to revitalize Ghana’s declining textile industry, presenting it as a rotational crop with significant potential for the country’s agricultural sector.

Agriculture contributes over 50% to Ghana’s GDP and accounts for more than 40% of its export earnings, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). With this in mind, the introduction of legislation to open up the market for industrial hemp and medical cannabis could have far-reaching implications for the country’s economy and environmental sustainability.

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