General News of Sunday, 19 June 2016
The West Africa Civil Society Institute is backing the call for Ghana to decriminalize cannabis as the world prepares to mark world drugs day on June 26.
According to the African representative of the International Drug Policy Consortium, Maria Goretti Ane, the nation is shooting itself in the foot by implementing the current drug regime, which criminalizes cannabis.
She was speaking during a walk dubbed “Support Don’t Punish” designed to create awareness about the dangers associated with the criminalisation of cannabis.
“Under the decriminalization model, it is still illegal to use drugs. However, if somebody comes into conflict with the law because the person has been arrested for using drugs, instead of the criminal sanctions application for that person we should rather apply administrative sanctions such as fines and community service,” Madam Ane said.
She suggested that for those who are addicted cannabis users, they need treatment as such there should be mechanisms to refer that person to seek treatment.
“We are saying that decriminalization is just a method of taking off people who are problematic drug users to seek help and so you should not give them criminal records,” she added.
According to her, giving “problematic drug users criminal records” will only go to affect their lives in the future adding, “people are confusing decriminalization with legalisation and regulation, which are three distinct things.”