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Ghana Getting Its Hemp Game On

Ghana’s Parliament last week passed a bill that will help to open up the country’s hemp industry.

The Narcotics Control Commission Amendment Bill 2023 authorises the Minister of Interior to grant licences and regulate the cultivation of cannabis. Often referred to as “wee” in Ghana, the type of plant that will be allowed is hemp; in this case defined as cannabis with THC content not above 0.3% on a dry weight basis.

According to GhanaWeb, Section 43 of Act 1019 previously gave the Minister for Interior the power to grant licences for cannabis cultivation based on recommendations by the Commission. But that was annulled by Ghana’s Apex Court, which  found Section 43 to be unconstitutional as it lacked parliamentary debate.

While the Minister may have previously had this power, it doesn’t look like it was exercised due to other legislation that didn’t align, and a lack of guidelines and instructions on how a hemp industry would be managed.

Commenting on the recent development, Ghanaian actor and politician John Dumelo stated:

“I’m very excited Parliament has passed the Narcotics Control Commission Amendment Bill 2023, which seeks to decriminalize the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes,” Mr. Dumelo tweeted. “This is a defining moment in Ghana’s history. As a farmer, adding the cultivation of cannabis to my portfolio for medicinal/ industrial purposes is definitely something I’m looking forward to.”

As to how such a licencing scheme will look, that remains to be seen – but a study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research in 2021 advised:

“Ghana should draw lessons from current licensing regimes in Africa, which seems to be a disadvantage for local farmers and investors. Licensing fees should be flexible and a framework that will allow local entrepreneurs to have a foothold in the hemp industry.”

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) notes agriculture contributes to 54 % of Ghana’s GDP, and represents more than 40% of its export earnings. With the country’s climate very favourable for the production of hemp and a more favourable legal climate evolving, hemp could provide a much needed boost to Ghana’s economy.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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