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Legal minds schooled on Narcotics Control Commission Act

Narcotics 696x522volta Legal minds schooled on Narcotics Control Commission Act

Tue, 24 May 2022 Source: gbcghanaonline.com

The Narcotics Control Commission has organized a workshop in Kumasi for Judges and Magistrates on the Narcotics Control Commission Act which provides for offenses related to narcotic drugs and plants cultivated for narcotic purposes and for related matters.

The capacity building and advocacy workshop were to strengthen and promote the understanding of Act 1019, and foster cooperation among judges and magistrates, who are critical stakeholders in the dispensation of justice.

The Narcotics Control Commission Act, Act 1019 was passed on 20th March 2020 and assented to by the President on 11th May 2020. Historically, drug guidelines have been imported to West Africa. And it is under this colonial legacy that the region has seen drug production and drug trafficking rising sharply, which offers further evidence that colonial drug laws do not work.

Ghana’s new drug law seeks to treat drug use and dependence as a public health issue rather than focusing on law enforcement, imprisonment, and punishment. The new law has converted the prison term for drug possession for personal use into a fine of between 200-500 penalty units, translating to between GHC 2,400 and GHC 6,000.

It means that instead of sending people to prison for up to 10 years for possession of drugs for personal use, they will offer alternatives to imprisonment and criminalization.

Further to the discourse on the implementation of the new law, it is also important to sensitize critical stakeholders, particularly Judges of the Lower and Higher courts. This led to the capacity building and advocacy workshop in Kumasi, organized by the POS Foundation and the Judicial Training Institute in partnership with International Drug Policy Consortium and West Africa Drug Policy Network-Ghana Chapter. It equipped the capacities of Judges and Magistrates to effectively handle offenses under the Narcotics Control Commission Act within their respective jurisdictions.

A Justice of the Court of Appeal, Professor Justice Dennis Adjei, who is also the Director of the Judicial Training Institute advised the Judges and Magistrates to be abreast of changes that have been brought by the Narcotics Control Commission Act, and the different jurisdictions given by the Act to the Trial Courts.

The Executive Director of POS Foundation, Mr. Jonathan Osei Owusu urged the Judges and Magistrates to situate law enforcement within the public health context, such as support for harm reduction, especially for people who use drugs.

The Africa Consultant of the International Drug Policy Consortium, Madam Maria-Goretti Loglo described drug use and dependence as a multi-dimensional issue.

Source: gbcghanaonline.com