Supreme Court affirms decision to strike out law on marijuana cultivation in Ghana

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of Ghana has upheld its previous stance that the law permitting the cultivation of cannabis in the country was unconstitutionally passed by Parliament.

Chief Justice Dotse, who presided over the case, stated that the party seeking a review of the judgment did not meet the necessary threshold.

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In July 2022, the court had invalidated Section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, Act 1019, which allowed the Minister, based on the Commission’s recommendation, to grant licenses for the cultivation of cannabis with a THC content of no more than 0.3% for industrial and medicinal purposes.

However, in a 4-3 majority decision, the Supreme Court nullified this provision, declaring it a violation of Article 106 of the 1992 constitution.

Article 106 states that a bill cannot be introduced in Parliament unless it has been published in the Gazette at least fourteen days prior to its introduction, except for specific circumstances outlined in Article 108(a).

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The private citizen, Ezuame Mannan, argued that the explanatory memorandum presented in Parliament did not adequately explain the policy change brought by Section 43.

He contended that the policy change was not sufficiently debated before being enacted into law. The Supreme Court upheld this argument.

The Attorney General filed a request for the court to review its decision, claiming that the requirement for a memorandum only applies at the beginning of the legislative process and is not necessary for subsequent amendments.

The AG argued that the amendment, specifically Section 43, was properly made without the need for an accompanying memorandum.

However, the plaintiff maintained that the amendment was not part of the initial debate and was not transparently communicated to the public as a significant policy change.

Justice Jones Dotse ruled that the court’s threshold for review had not been met, implying that the court would not reconsider its previous decision.

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