Chief Psychiatrist says it is wrong to jail people who smoke ‘wee’

Chief Psychiatrist of the Mental Health Authority, Akwesi Osei has said it is inappropriate for people addicted to marijuana to be jailed.

He rather proposes that such people should be sent to the hospital for mandatory treatment.

“I have always been saying that if someone is addicted to cannabis we should not criminalise that addiction because addiction is a disease so for that addiction if you see him possessing a small quantity because he is using it to respond to his addiction then you cannot say he has committed a crime rather take him for mandatory treatment”.

Speaking Friday on Hitz FMs Taxi Driver programme, Dr Osei said the use of cannabis should not be seen as a crime. According to him, it is wrong for anyone who is using the drug to be sent to jail.

He is however, against calls for it to be legalised in Ghana since the chemical content of the marijuana cultivated in Ghana is far in excess higher than those found elsewhere such as South America, where their use has been legalised.

“Marijuana has obvious problems and challenges and if it is legalized; free for all, we will definitely have repercussions which we will regret” .

The Chief Psychiatrist also regrets the state’s decision to legalise consumption of alcohol which he said has become an albatross on the nation. But he argued, at the at the time alcohol was legalised science had not developed enough to tell its health effects.

“At the time alcohol was made a legal drug we did not know the effects of alcohol on the human body. If we had known we would not have legalised it, so the argument that alcohol is more dangerous but is legal is a completely wrong argument which does not take into consideration the fact that we did not know the effects those days.

“Now it has become an albatross and we say let’s regulate marijuana? Why should we regulate it only for us to regret that we did just like we are regretting legalising alcohol”, he questioned.

He insists that marijuana should not in any way be legalised in the country but could be used in the manufacture of other medications.

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