The Rastafari Council of Ghana notes with pleasure the call by the CEO of Ghana Standards Authority Prof. Alex Dodoo for Ghana to consider the commercial production of Marijuana for exportation. The Council attaches great importance to the call of the learned Professor given the span and depth of Prof. Dodoo’s scholarship and international experience in the area pharmacology.
Prof. Dodoo’s call adds to the league of eminent Ghanaian statesmen, broadcasters and senior public servants such as Black Rasta, Kofi Atta Annan (Former United Nation’s Secretary General and Nobel Laureate) and Akrasi Sarpong (former CEO of the Narcotics Control Board of Ghana) who have appealed to the national conscience to discard the baseless prejudices that characterize public discourses on the economic and medicinal value of Marijuana cultivation.
Under Ghanaian law, the importation, exportation, possession, cultivation, manufacture, supply, use, and administration of Marijuana (Cannabis) is NOT UNLAWFUL, if it is so done under lawful authority. The legal provisions specified in the Narcotic Drugs (Control, Enforcement and Sanctions) Law, 1990 (PNDCL 236), Sections 1, 2 and 5 state the requirement of lawful authorization for the undertaking of the above endeavors, and set forth the mandatory requisition of license to be granted by the Secretary of Health (Minister of Health). Hence, no legislative restrictions can justifiably fetter the sovereign right of the government of Ghana to grant licenses to croppers in pursuance of its legitimate economic interests.
The enactment of PNDCL 236 stems from Ghana’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which corporate body (UN) was posthumously headed by Kofi Annan – the very person whom after nearly three decades since the passage of that law, is calling for its reformation to conform to the exigencies of the times.
The Council entreats the public to observe, that with the exception of Ghana, nearly all of the 87 countries which are signatories to the treaty and its 189 parties, have ratified the convention under reservations; that they will not be bound wholly by the Convention where their constitutions and national interest are at stake. Chief among the several reservations made by the United States of America to this treaty was the right to derogate from the treaty where the “essential interest” of the United States was at stake. The 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana imposes as a primary obligation on government the responsibility to protect the economic interest of Ghana. Hence, no treaty, however expansively formed can usurp the supremacy of the Constitution of Ghana.
THE ECONOMIC IMPERATIVE FOR GHANA.
The Global Marijuana industry is a multi-billion dollar market with values projected to exceed $300 Billion dollars by end of 2020. According to the 2005 United Nations World Drug Report, the total value of world’s marijuana market is $141.80 Billion. 164 million people use marijuana around the world for medicinal, cosmetics and recreational purposes.
Marijuana yields nearly 60 times more crops per acreage in comparison to Cocoa. In 2016 while the World Market Price for Cocoa stood at $1,914 dollars per ton, Marijuana commanded a whopping $2,500 dollars per pound! Considering, that much of Ghana’s arable lands are conducive to the cultivation of Marijuana with a gestation period of just 4 to 5 months, Marijuana holds the potential to outstrip Cocoa, Gold and Oil in net revenue in less than 6 years. As government sets out to secure funding for its mass youth employment and economic transformation programs under the Planting for Food program, One District One Factory, One Village One Dam and Free Senior High School policy, it must not overlook the tremendous boost which revenue from Marijuana export could offer without aggravating our national debt stock.
It should therefore not come as a surprise that nearly all the countries that signed on to international protocols which restrict the commercial production of Marijuana, are re-enacting laws to tap into the immense economic potential that this crop offers. In keeping with the spirit and express provisions of the 1992 Constitution, the Rastafari Council urges government to jettison all legislative impediments to its just and legitimate obligation to secure the economic interest of Ghana, and create jobs for its teaming unemployed youths.
The Council applauds renowned broadcaster and musician Black Rasta, Mr. Akrasi Sarpong (former CEO of the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority) and, Mr. Kofi Annan (Former United Nation’s Secretary General and Nobel Laureate) for their visionary disposition in the public discourse over the matter. The Council further commends the sterling leadership of Prof. Alex Dodoo and his courage to defy conventional thinking, in the bid to transform the Ghana Standards Authority into a more forward-looking, pragmatic and economically relevant institution to the growth of Ghana.
Long live Ghana! Africa Unite.
Khex Dan Pongo
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