Friday 14th March , 2014 11:42 am
The Chief Psychiatrist of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi has cautioned the country against endorsing any proposal for marijuana, otherwise referred to as ‘wee’ in Ghana to be legalized.
His caution comes in the wake of calls by the Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board for a national debate on the legalization of the psycho active substance.
Mr. Akrasi Sarpong argued that prevalence in the use and sale of Indian hemp in the country was gradually eroding the public perception that the substance was legally prohibitive.
He also noted that the commercial production and sale of some by-products of Indian hemp for medicinal purposes including the production of hair products, was widespread in the country. He advanced the argument, albeit softly, that proceeds from commercial production from Indian hemp was being used to support some social welfare schemes in some deprived rural communities in order to gain their trust to go ahead with their thriving activities in those hinterlands.
He referred to countries and some states in the United States of America which have reviewed laws to allow the substance and charged Ghanaian law makers to face the stack realities and chart a better path for the country.
But Dr. Gordon Donnir, the Chief Psychiatrist at KATH thinks otherwise. According to him, most countries where laws have been reviewed to accommodate the free use of marijuana have regretted the decision because of the debilitating consequences emanating from the blatant use of Indian hemp.
In an interview with Ultimate Radio, Dr. Donnir indicated, “there are countries that are still wondering whether they made the right decision. I have been reading an article in a reputable journal that is bringing out the fact that in those states where it has been legalized; there have been an increase in the number of children who are reporting to their emergency department due to exposure to cannabis.”
Dr. Donnir took strong exceptions to Mr. Akrasi Sarpong’s argument that sought to postulate that dwindling public perception about the illegality of the use of cannabis was enough ground to soften the stance of the law against the narcotic substance.
“A part of his argument that I don’t feel comfortable about is because people are increasingly using it which makes it normal to them which virtually legalizes it is untenable. It is like saying that corruption which we all know is endemic in society should be accepted and legalized,” he argued.
The Chief Psychiatrist is of the strong view that Ghana’s stance on the issue was for the good of the nation and was based on sound scientific evidence which needs not be scrapped.