Ghana Officially Legalizes Weed…Kind Of?

Many Ghanaian's are taking to social media to rejoice in the legalization of cannabis in Ghana, but what does the new law actually say?

Across the internet, articles are emerging stating that "Ghana has legalized weed", with many celebrities taking to Twitter to express their joy.

According to GhanaWeb, Ghana has legalized the use of cannabis for "health and industrial purposes as it joins other African countries hoping to derive economic and health benefits from the substance."

Ghana's cannabis legalization was made after it's Parliament passed the Narcotics Control Commission Bill of 2019 last week, which formed the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), a board that would oversee the industrial use of narcotic substances such as cannabis. In addition to facilitating industrial use cannabis, the law also shifts drug abuse from being a criminal issue into being a public health issue.

Though are the countless celebrities posting about Ghana's cannabis legalization correct in their excitement?

There is one important clause that seems to have eluded many of these Ghanaian celebrities posting on Twitter, which is an important clause included in the bill. As GhanaWeb mentions, the new move to legalize cannabis in Ghana is not just limited to the medicinal and industrial use of cannabis, but more specifically, it is limited to cannabis with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels lower than 0.3 percent.

While many seem to mistakenly believe that recreational cannabis is now legal in Ghana, even the THC levels legalized for industrial and medical purposes are significantly lower than the THC levels found even in a low-potency cannabis plant. Marijuana typically ranges from 12-30% THC, with extremely low ranges sitting around the 10% mark.

In fact, the level of THC made legal in Ghana is more accurately aligned with those found in hemp plants, which are unable to get users high. This is confirmed by the president of the Hemp Association of Ghana, Nana Kwaku Agyemang, who stated that "We seem to get lost in this issue of getting high, and all we can talk about as Ghanaians is smoking. We are not promoting smoking, we are promoting industry, we are promoting cleaning up the environment."

Agyemang went on to say that "we are promoting creating a new revenue stream for government in terms of taxing from cultivation and export and we are talking about promoting medicines that are far better than opioids, medicines that cannot kill you because no one has died from taking cannabis."

So before you get excited, realize that Ghana hasn't legalized recreational cannabis, or even medicinal cannabis, but rather, the country has legalized hemp and hemp-based CBD products. This isn't to minimize the efforts of the country, however, as these products may generate Ghana millions, as well as bringing a host of medicinal benefits to its citizens.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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