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Supreme Court on why it struck out licence to grow cannabis (wee)

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson

The Supreme Court has held that it struck out the law on licence to grow cannabis popularly known as “wee” because Parliament was not transparent in its passage.

The court held there was no debate in Parliament on it before its passage into law as stipulated by Articles 106 (5) (6) of the 1992 Constitution .
 
Again, the apex court was of the considered opinion that the explanatory memorandum attached to the bill placed before Parliament did not set out in details the policy change, the defects in the existing law, and the necessity to introduce a law to licence the cultivation of cannabis.
 
Such an omission, the court held, was a violation of Article 106 (2) of the 1992 Constitution.
 
In view of the said violations, the court held that Section 43 of the Narcotic Control Commission Act 2020 (Act 1019) was unconstitutional.
 
“The mode of introduction of Section 43 of Act 1019 violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Accordingly, Section 43 is hereby struck out as unconstitutional.

“The lack of debate on Section 43 of Act 1019 amounts to not only a direct violation of the letter of Article 106 of the Constitution, but also a violation of the spirit of the law.

There was conspicuously, no debate over such a critical shift in policy by Parliament. Needless to say, this conduct and mode of law making defeats the transparency and accountability enjoined by the Constitution,” the court held.

Section 43 of Act 1019 allows the Minister of Interior, upon the recommendation of the Narcotics Control Commission, to grant an entity the licence to cultivate cannabis of not more than 0.3 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content for industrial and medicinal purposes.