Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board, Yaw Akrasi Sarpong, has described Ghanaian politicians as “cowards” for their failure to come clean on the issue of decriminalisation of cannabis, popularly known as Wee.
He said Ghanaian politicians are afraid to clearly state their position on the calls for the decriminalisation or legalisation of the substance, which has recently sparked a debate in the country.
“Virtually all our politicians are cowards! Issues like this, they’re afraid to talk about it because of votes; because of the way they will be called,” he argued on TV3’s current affairs programme, Hot Issues that will be broadcasted on Saturday at 4:00pm.
Mr Akrasi Sarpong and a number of people, including former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Head of Ghana’s Drug Law Enforcement Unit David Selom Hukportie, are advocating for the decriminalisation or legalisation of the tropical drug.
They argue decriminalising or legalising the drug in the country would help in the fight against the drug, particularly its abuse.
Mr Annan in an article last February urged countries to decriminalised marijuana as a way to combat the menace of drug abuse and illegal trafficking, arguing that “Drugs are dangerous, but current narcotics policies are an even bigger threat because punishment is given a greater priority than health and human rights.”
Mr Akrasi Sarpong on the other hand, in 2014 proposed the decriminalisation of marijuana in Ghana considering that the drug is widely used in the country despite it being banned.
For him, ‘virtual legalisation’ was already in force in Ghana as the drug could be found in cosmetics and hair products used by women, and also smoked openly by many Ghanaians, including respected professionals.
But Ghana’s Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Akwasi Osei does not see the arguments by the two convincing enough for the country to decriminalise or legalise the drug, saying “we cannot say that we have got to the point where we can throw our hands up and say we’ve lost the battle, therefore, let’s legalise. We have not”.
Dr Osei said the discussion on legalisation of marijuana ought to be contextualised, noting that countries in the Western world that have legalised the drug did so because they lost the war on it.
However, in the latest yet-to-be televise episode of Hot Issues, Mr Akrasi Sarpong chastised Ghanaian politicians, particularly parliamentarians for their silence on the raging debate.
“I haven’t seen a single Member of Parliament who has put up a single bill board [stating] drugs trafficking and cultivation is bad, but in every constituency, the MPs know it, in every town in every constituency, there are Wee pushers. People are smoking wee,” he stated.
He added, “If I know an MP smokes, I will try to engage the MP…and say that you should be helping this debate or I know he has smoked before, help this debate. But you know they don’t wanna talk about it.
He said more surprising to him is that fact that Ghanaians have seen a politician arrested for drugs before, yet these politicians have remained silence on the debate.
“Lets talk the issues because in this country, we have seen a politician of a ruling party arrested for drug before…And then when somebody is arrested, another MP stands on a radio station to accused another political party that oh at the last election, that person gave a bicycle or something.
“All that it means is that, people know people involved in drugs whose money one way or the other, helps in somebody’s campaign. Now that’s very dangerous and we need to look at it critically and approach it well because I think that those who have that type of money, it is illicit that we don’t need to allow them to make,” he said.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana