The Management of Crime Check Foundation (CCF), a Prisons NGO, has commended government for the passage of the Narcotics Control Commission Bill into Law.
Mr Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, the Executive Director of CCF, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the Foundation has been advocating for the passage of the Bill into law for many years.
“I think it is unfortunate because this is purely a health and human rights issue,” he said.
Mr Kwarteng, who is also the Ambassador Extraordinaire of Prisons, said smokers have their human rights and should not be bundled into prison-like criminals.
He said, moreover, there were so many reasons, why some people smoke â€œwe know that many people do not abuse the substance and many people use it for working purposesâ€.
The Executive Director said: “That is why we have been knocking on the doors of government and Parliament for so many years. So at long last, we are happy that the bill has been passed into law”.
He said many children have dropped out of school, because their fathers went to smoke wee and have been put behind bars.
“We think that government or the law should be tackling on the barons, those who have been exporting the drugs for commercial purposes and making lot of money out of it,” Mr Kwarteng added.
He expressed the hope that stakeholders in the justice delivery chain would adhere quickly to the provisions of the law and not take the law into their own hands and continue to imprison people who smoke wee.
“The most important thing is that law is the law and it behoves on stakeholders in the justice delivery chain to religiously adhere to the tenets of the law,” he said.
The law transforms the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) into a Commission with enhanced powers.
The Commission will have the mandate to control and eliminate trafficking of prohibited narcotic drugs to ensure public safety.
It will also oversee the rehabilitation of people who become addicted to drugs. The bill also ensures that drug abuse will be treated as a public health issue and not only a law enforcement one.
The law additionally, de-criminalises the use of some narcotic substances for health purposes.
He said the Foundation and other civil society organizations through its documentaries has brought to light many people, who are serving outrageous jail terms for a joint of wee.