Narcotics Bill: We are merely fixing an error; we are not revisiting the Supreme Court’s decision, Bagbin
The Supreme Court’s ruling that the clause in the bill that seeks to amend the Narcotics Control Commission Act, 2020 (Act 1019) to give the Minister for the Interior the authority to grant a licence for the cultivation of cannabis for industrial use or for medicinal purposes was unconstitutional, according to Speaker of the House Alban Bagbin, was overturned.
He claimed that Parliament is merely correcting a mistake.
On Thursday, July 6, Speaker Bagbin made these remarks following the introduction and first reading of the Narcotics Regulation Commission Amendment Bill, 2023, in the House of Representatives by Minister of the Interior Ambrose Dery.
Because there was no debate in Parliament prior to the bill’s adoption, as required by Article 106 (5) and (6) of the 1992 Constitution, the Supreme Court had invalidated the law giving permits to produce cannabis, sometimes known as “wee.”
But the Speaker who indicated that the country was losing out because of this decision, said he made his displeasure over the ruling known to the justices of the apex court in a meeting and urged them to consult Parliament for proper briefings whenever they are making such decisions.
“We are not reviewing the decision of the Supreme Court, what we are seeking to do is to correct an error and reinstate the right provision. So I am going to refer the bill to the Committee on Defence and Interior for consideration and report to the House.
“The Committee could present the report within one week. It is a matter that is dear to my heart personally, and I think the country is losing a lot as a result of this [Supreme Court] decision. We need to work expeditiously to rectify the wrong.”
He added “I hope that the three arms of government will work together and respect each other. In cases of doubt, it is important to consult the other arm before giving finality to whatever decision the other arm wants to take.
“I don’t think that it is proper for the judiciary to, without knowing how we conduct our business here, really go into how we conduct the business and make such an important decision without consulting the house, that is improper.