You erred in declaring wee cultivation unconstitutional; this severely undermines the powers of the legislature- Lawyer

Private legal practitioner lawyer Benjamin Tachie Antiedu has opined that the Supreme Court’s decision in declaring that the cultivation of marijuana in the case of Ezuame Mannan V Attorney General and another amounts to unnecessary intrusion into the legislative powers of parliament.

The Supreme Court ruled that the law allowing for the cultivation of cannabis, or “wee,” in small quantities for industrial and medicinal purposes is unconstitutional.

Section 43 of Act 1019 of the Narcotics Commission Act states that “the Minister, on the recommendation of the Commission, may grant a licence for the cultivation of cannabis popularly known as “wee” in Ghana, with a THC content of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis for industrial purposes for the purpose of obtaining fibre or seed for medicinal purposes.”

However, in a 4-3 majority decision on July 28, the Apex Court invalidated Section 43 of Act 1019, declaring it to be a violation of Article 106 of the 1992 constitution.

In response to the ruling, the lawyer and author argued that the Supreme Court made a mistake.

He explained that the decision severely undermines parliament’s powers.

”SC erred in the reasoning supporting the majority decision based on the above explanations. More importantly, this decision gravely undermines the legislative powers of Parliament. It is also impractical to require every insertion amendment to a Bill to be subjected to the mandatory gazette publication before Parliament exercises its legislative power, which is mostly exercised through amendments effected during consideration stage of Bills.”

If the ruling stands, the lawyer predicts that it will take the House a long time to pass a single law.

”It would take Parliament unreasonably long time to pass a single enactment if the decision of the SC in this case is to be complied with.”

Read the full opinion below

SUPREME COURT’S DECISION IN EZUAME MANNAN V ATTORNEY-GENERAL & ANOTHER AMOUNTS TO UNNECESSARY INTRUSION INTO THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF PARLIAMENT

  1. SC has held that Section 43 of the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) is unconstitutional.
  2. SC reasoned that there was no debate on the impugned clause 43 of the then Bill which was inserted by Parliament during the consideration stage and same was not gazetted as required by Artcle 106(2) of the Constitution.
  3. Unlike subsidiary legislations passed under Article 11(7) of the Constitution, Parliament has the power to amend any Bill placed before it including the introduction of new provisions not originally contained or contemplated in the Memorandum accompanying the Bill. Article 106(2) of the Constitution requires the gazette publication of a BILL and NOT A PRIVISION OF A BILL!
  4. Parliament only engages in debate when the House is unable to reach consensus. There is no legal requirement that Parliament must debate a matter before it to take a decision.
  5. SC erred in the reasoning supporting the majority decision based on the above explanations. More importantly, this decision gravely undermines the legislative powers of Parliament. It is also impractical to require every insertion amendment to a Bill to be subjected to the mandatory gazette publication before Parliament exercises its legislative power, which is mostly exercised through amendments effected during consideration stage of Bills.
  6. It would take Parliament unreasonably long time to pass a single enactment if the decision of the SC in this case is to be complied with.

By: Rainbowradioonline.com/Ghana

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