In a majority 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of Ghana has affirmed its view that the law allowing cultivation of weed in Ghana was unconstitutionally passed by Parliament, according to Presiding Judge Justice Dotse who stated, “the threshold a party ought to meet to enable it to review its own judgement has not been met.”
The court in July 2022 struck out Section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, Act 1019, which stipulated the conditions for granting licenses for cannabis cultivation, but the Apex court, in a 4-3 majority decision, annulled this provision, declaring it a violation of Article 106 of the 1992 constitution.
“No bill, other than such a bill as is referred to in paragraph (a) of article 108 of this Constitution, shall be introduced in Parliament unless… it is accompanied by an explanatory memorandum setting out in detail the policy and principles of the bill, the defects of the existing law, the remedies proposed to deal with those defects and the necessity for its introduction; and it has been published in the Gazette at least fourteen days before the date of its introduction in Parliament,” states Article 106 of the constitution.
The private citizen, Ezuame Mannan, argued that the explanatory memorandum presented in Parliament did not sufficiently outline the policy change brought about by section 43 of the law and that the policy change was not adequately debated before its passage into law, a position upheld by the Apex Court.
The Attorney General, however, filed processes seeking a review of the court's decision, arguing that the original panel had made an error of law and that “there is no requirement for a memorandum to further accompany any amendment made by Parliament.”
Justice Jones Dotse ruled that the review threshold of the court had not been met, with Justices Jones Dotse, Prof Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Prof Henrietta Mensah Bonsu, and Emmanuel Kulendi forming the majority, while Justices Lovelace Johnson, Amadu Tanko, Samuel Asiedu, and George Koomson formed the minority.
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