Cannabis Cultivation Bill Approved by Parliament

On Wednesday, July 12, 2023, Ghana’s Parliament passed the Narcotics Control Commission Amendment Bill 2023, which grants the Minister for the Interior the authority to issue licenses for the cultivation of cannabis for industrial purposes.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, clarified that Parliament was not reviewing the decision made by the Supreme Court regarding the unconstitutionality of a clause in the bill. He explained that Parliament was addressing an error made in the Supreme Court’s decision.

Speaker Bagbin expressed his displeasure over the ruling, stating that the country was losing out due to the decision. He disclosed that he had conveyed his concerns to the justices of the apex court during a meeting and urged them to consult Parliament for proper briefings when making such decisions.

“We are not reviewing the decision of the Supreme Court, what we are seeking to do is to correct an error and reinstate the right provision. So I am going to refer the bill to the Committee on Defence and Interior for consideration and report to the House.

“The Committee could present the report within one week. It is a matter that is dear to my heart personally, and I think the country is losing a lot as a result of this [Supreme Court] decision. We need to work expeditiously to rectify the wrong.”

The bill, presented by the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, on July 6, was referred to the Committee on Defence and Interior for consideration and report. The Speaker expected the committee to present the report within one week.

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He emphasized the importance of collaboration and mutual respect among the three arms of government, urging consultation between them when there are doubts or important decisions to be made. The Speaker expressed his belief that it was improper for the judiciary to make significant decisions without consulting the Parliament, as they may not be fully aware of how parliamentary business is conducted.

The Speaker concluded by reiterating the urgency to rectify the Supreme Court’s decision, as he believed it was in the best interest of the country. The Committee on Defence and Interior was given a week to submit their report.

“I hope that the three arms of government will work together and respect each other. In cases of doubt, it is important to consult the other arm before giving finality to whatever decision the other arm wants to take.

“I don’t think that it is proper for the judiciary to, without knowing how we conduct our business here, really go into how we conduct the business and make such an important decision without consulting the house, that is improper.

“I have made this known to them and I want this to be known publicly, this is for the benefit of the country. So please, committee, you are given one week to submit your report.” He added.

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