Contributor: John Àwuni
Bono Regional Organizer of the New Patriot Party (NPP), Evans Afari Gyan Yeboah, has charged the country’s judicial system to consider public interest in decision making.
According to him, the country’s judicial system is doing well and its one of the most respectable arm of government worldwide, however, there is more to be done when it comes to taking decisions that represent the interest of the average Ghanaian.
He noted that the courts are guardians or custodians of the public interest and therefore certain issues of national interest must be decided with keen consideration to the views of the citizenry.
His comments follows a 4-3 majority decision Wednesday (July 28, 2022) against Ghana’s new Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) passed by Parliament on March 20, 2020, and assented to by the President on May 11, 2020 which seeks to treat drug use and dependency as a public health issue rather than focusing on law enforcement, incarceration, punishment, and repression. The new law has converted prison term for drug possession for personal use into a fine of between 200 to 500 penalty units equivalent to GH¢2, 400 to GH¢6000 respectively.
Section 43 of Act 1019 of the Narcotic Control Commission Act, 2022 (Act 1019) stipulates that “the Minister on the recommendation of the Commission, may grant a license for the cultivation of cannabis popularly referred to as “wee” in Ghana, which is not more than 0.3 percent content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for obtaining fibre or seed for medicinal purposes”.
However, in a 4-3 majority decision Wednesday (July 28, 2022), a seven-member panel of the apex court held this section violates Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution, which details the processes a bill must go through before it is passed into law by Parliament, and was therefore null and void.
Considering the commercial benefits other countries are deriving from this policy, Mr. Evans Afari Gyan has called on all relevant stakeholders to start a national discussion on this bill in the interest of the country’s economy. He noted that the passage of this bill into law will help put the economy in good shape.
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