Accra, Nov. 22, GNA –
Save the Nation for Future Leaders, a pressure group, has petitioned President
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Parliament, to legalize marijuana for medicinal
and commercial purposes.
The group however
said sanctions for recreational use of marijuana should be maintained.
The group repeated
its call, in an interview with journalists at the Parliament House in Accra,
after presenting the petition to the Chief of Staff of the Presidency; and
Parliament, through its Public Affairs Department.
The group made a
case for the drug to be legalized, citing its economic benefits to countries
which had engaged in large scale production.
Mr Kwadwo Atta
Apeakorang, President and Founder of the group, said: “Save The Nation for
Future Leaders does not support a universal marijuana legalisation as
recreational use of the drug cannot be regulated by the State.
“Thus, while we call
for the drug to be legalised for commercial purposes, sanctions for
recreational use should be maintained.”
He said Ghana would
also benefit if it engaged in the thriving marijuana business, which he said
was sustaining the economies of the developed world and other African
“It is economically
unwise for Ghana, a developing country, to waste both capital and human
resources to destroy marijuana,” Mr Ape said.
He recalled that in
the last few years, about three hundred acres of marijuana plantation and
tonnes of same had been destroyed by a joint team of personnel from the
Narcotics Control Board, Ghana Police Service and other security agencies.
He said statistics
indicated that in 2017, marijuana sales in some parts of the USA reached $655m,
outweighing that of alcohol by over $100m and it is estimated that an acre of
marijuana plantation generates as much as $1.1m in revenue.
Mr Apeakorang said
the deployment of logistics and personnel for the destruction exercises had
cost Ghana about $1bn.
marijuana as “being a burgeoning, dynamic and valuable non-traditional export
commodity,” which provides important sources of income for large numbers of
people in the distribution chain of the drug.
“In the developed
world, marijuana has generated $2.2bn and $1.56bn for US states of California
and Colorado respectively, while in Africa, Uganda has signed a deal worth $3bn
to export medical marijuana to Canada and Germany,” Mr Apeakorang said.
Moroccan marijuana business is estimated to generate $10bn annually.
According to Mr
Apeakorang, currently, Ghana exported 900,000 tonnes of cocoa annually,
accruing about $2 billion; and while marijuana matures and is harvested after
three months, the first pods from cocoa are harvested after three years; thus,
in three years, a farmer may harvest marijuana about ten times.
The group said it
was convinced that a 150-acre marijuana plantation would generate more than $2
billion if maintained for four years.
The group called on
the Government of Ghana to consider adding marijuana to the list of crops
approved for Planting for Food and Jobs flagship programme, and to be made a
special initiative carried out or supervised by the military.
regulating marijuana cultivation, harvesting, processing and export, could earn
Ghana more foreign exchange than what cash crops and minerals are earning,’ the
Mr Apeakorang noted
that calls by individuals and institutions to consider legalising marijuana had
attracted unwarranted, uneducated opposition from religious groups and
individuals over the years.
He however recalled
that Mr Akrasi Sarpong, a former Narcotics Control Board Executive Secretary,
had emphatically stated that “we can get a lot more products from marijuana
than cocoa, marijuana doesn’t kill, we can use it for commercial purposes which
Ghana can make a lot of money from.”
Also, the Drug
Enforcement Unit of the Ghana Police Service had also made calls for government
to consider legalising the drug.
“Save The Nation for
Future Leaders believe that a proper drug administration system would ensure
both revenue generation and a reduction in the recreational usage of the drug,”
the group said.
He gave examples
from Uganda and Lesotho, where he said, companies had engaged in large scale
production of marijuana for substantial economic benefits.
“It is, therefore,
not out of place for Ghana to consider processing marijuana on a large scale
“We suggest that
Government of Ghana should emulate the Malawian example where the Government of
Malawi did a trial cultivation of marijuana ahead of legalization,” he said.
The Ghana Armed
Forces should be licensed to start commercial marijuana cultivation and
processing for export, as the Government of Italy did.
This, the group
said, would not only ensure the drug was regulated but also ensure that the
crop was maintained under the right conditions for the quality that was
required by the international market.
as “one of the best herbs on the globe,” Mr Apeakorang said the punitive
sanctions the law attaches to issues relating to marijuana were no longer
logical, and called on Parliament, to pass the Narcotics Control Commission
Bill of 2017 as early as possible.
“The passage of the
Bill into law will also ensure that recreational users of the drugs who have
had complications but are afraid of incarceration if found out, would now be
able to freely seek medical attention.”