The 80-hectare cannabis farm was discovered in the Obuo Akroma Forest Reserve in the Afram Plains North District by the Forestry Commission on Saturday.
Five people including an agric science teacher have been arrested by a team of Forestry Commission personnel who had swooped on the suspects on the farm acting on a tip-off.
The suspects had been identified as Michael Anakpo, the Agric teacher and alleged leader in charge of the farm, Normenyo Blewu, Korsi Mawuena, Charles Kale, and Emmanuel Kojo.
The suspects have since been handed over to the Police for investigations.
According to the District Manager of the Forestry Commission in Afram Plains, Mr. Richard Amoateng who led the operation at the weekend, three maxi-sacks of harvested cannabis, six medium size sacks, three cutlasses, two hoes, a knife, five plastic containers filled with the harvested stuff and alcoholic drinks mixed with the narcotic substance were retrieved.
Briefing the media, Mr. Amoateng said “we had a tip-off about the activities of the suspects in the forest reserve and quickly mobilised my team to the said reserve where we met the suspects and several others on the farm”.
The suspects, he said attacked “us but my men overpowered them while others managed to escape being arrested”.
The District Manager added that the team had also discovered that the suspects have nursed many of the seedlings waiting to be planted.
According to him the team also found 13 tents on the farm that accommodated the suspects as they had erected a warning signpost with the inscription: “Don’t attempt.”
Mr. Amoateng assured that the Commission would soon intensify its operations to curb down on such illegal cultivation of herbs in the area.
It is recalled that Ghana’s new Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) passed by Parliament on March 20, 2020, and assented to by the President on May 11, 2020, seeks to treat drug use and dependency as a public health issue rather than focusing on law enforcement, incarceration, punishment, and repression. The new law has converted prison term for drug possession for personal use into a fine of between 200 to 500 penalty units equivalent to GH¢2, 400 to GH¢6000 respectively.
Section 43 of Act 1019 of the Narcotic Control Commission Act, 2022 (Act 1019) stipulates 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 percent content on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for obtaining fibre or seed for medicinal purposes.”
However, in a 4-3 majority decision Wednesday (July 28, 2022), a seven-member panel of the apex court held this section violates Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution, which details the processes a bill must go through before it is passed into law by Parliament, and was therefore null and void.