The Supreme Court in a 5-4 jury decision has struck out an application filed by the Attorney General that challenged its verdict on strucking out a law that allowed the cultivation of Cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes.
The apex court today, May 24, 2023, presided over by Justice John Dotse has in a 5-4 majority struck out Attorney General Godfred Dame’s application stating it did not satisfy the threshold for review as set out by the Supreme Court rules.
Section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, Act 1019 was struck out by the court in July 2019.
The provision sets out that “the Minister on the recommendation of the Commission, may grant a license for the cultivation of cannabis popularly referred to as “wee” in Ghana, which is not more than 0.3 % THC content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for obtaining fiber or seed for medicinal purposes.”
The Apex court’s 4- 3 majority in July 2019 struck out the provision and declared that it was in contravention of Article 106 of the 1992 constitution stating the explanatory memorandum attached to the bill placed before Parliament did not set out in detail the policy change, the defects in the existing law and the necessity to introduce a law to license the cultivation of cannabis.
The Attorney General, Godfred Dame filed processes claiming there was a miscarriage of justice in the ruling hence pleading with the court to review its decision.
“Fundamental and grave errors have occasioned a substantial miscarriage of justice. It is only at the beginning of the process that there must be a memorandum.”
“There is no requirement for a memorandum to further accompany any amendment made by Parliament. Such a reading of the law imposes a further burden on Parliament and curtails its autonomy in passing laws, Mr. Dame stated.
However, Lawyer for the private citizen, Ezuame Mannan disagreed with the Attorney General’s position and stated that:
“No miscarriage of justice has been occasioned by the decision of the court. We will respectfully talk about the amendment which is section 43, that was sneaked in at the time that the full debate had concluded.
“That it was contrary to the Constitution. The AG has said that in amending the law, there is no need for the memorandum, the issues as well as the departure from the national policy, the position do the plaintiff is that, at the time of the debate, this particular amendment that was sneaked in, was not part. The nation was not made aware of the clear change in the policy.”
The 9 panel of the jury have therefore struck out the application on a 5-4 majority with Justices Jones Dotse, Mariama Owusu, Prof Kotey, Emmanuel Kulendi, and Prof Henrietta Mensah Bonsu, forming the majority whereas Justices Lovelace Johnson, George Koomson, Samuel Asiedu and Amadu Tanko formed the minority.