GH¢50million worth of cannabis destroyed in Ghana because they were illegally cultivated
The Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC), on Wednesday destroyed narcotic substances estimated to be worth GH¢50 million at the Bundase Training Camp of the Ghana Armed Forces in the Greater Accra Region.
This followed a court order that asked NACOC to burn the cannabis intercepted from drug peddlers.
The latest seizures, estimated at 50 tonnes, were made between the years 2021 and 2023 in the Volta and Eastern regions.
The destruction exercise was done in the presence of officials of the court, the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States, the United Kingdom National Crime Agency and Border Force, as well as the police, National Security, the military and the media.
The materials were first tested to confirm if they were the actual drugs intercepted before they were set ablaze.
The acting Director, Public Affairs and International Relations, NACOC, Francis Opoku Amoah, told journalists that the illegal cannabis was one of the biggest haul made by the commission in recent years.
He explained that the destruction exercise was in accordance with the commission's law, Act 1019, which required NACOC to seize, investigate and prosecute perpetrators, as well as destroy seized narcotic drugs after following all legal procedures, including securing a destruction certificate.
He said although it was illegal to use drugs, under Section 54 of Act 1019, NACOC was shifting from incarceration to making drugs use a public health issue to enable persons suffering from substance use disorders to receive the necessary counselling and treatment.
Mr Amoah said the persons arrested and prosecuted for drug-related offences could be ordered by the court, upon assessment, to seek treatment or rehabilitation and social reintegration.
He said the commission was mandated to set up a rehabilitation fund, which could enable the commission to build such centres across the country to take care of such persons as opposed to incarceration of offenders.
He cautioned the public, particularly owners and drivers of commercial vehicles, not to allow themselves to be used as couriers by smugglers.
"They must always be sure to check the content of consignments they intend to convey from one destination to another.
Vehicle owners should also conduct background checks on their employees before handing over their vehicles to them to avoid having their vehicles seized," he said.