Drug policy experts advocate scrapping ‘draconian’ drug laws in West Africa

Ghana News

News / Ghana News 23 Views

Technical experts in drug policies and human rights on the African continent and Europe are advocating Africa reconsiders its draconian drug regime.

The experts comprising Steve Rolles of Transform Drug Policy and Jamie Bridge of the widely acclaimed International Drug Policy Consortium have questioned why the African continent; particularly the West African sub-region continue to rely on 'old fashion' legislation.

They are against the legislation that pushes culprits in jail when what they really need is rehabilitation.

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They made the call on the sidelines of an expert workshop that seeks to put together a model law on drugs for the West African sub-region in Accra.

Police clearing and burning a cannabis farm

In an interview with Joy News, Jamie Bridge, who is Senior Operations Manager of the International Drug Policy Consortium said, 'legislators agree on one-on-one basis' of the need to change the law.

“However, they are so much concerned about public opinion and their elections'.

He, therefore, encouraged legislators to be bold in formulating laws that will be beneficial to the problematic drug users rather than compounding their woes by pushing them into jail.

Niamh Eastwood, Executive Director, Drugs, The Law and Human Rights also told the reporter, 'science has proven to the world that marijuana is less harmful compared to alcohol and other drugs that are openly sold and legally so, in the open market.

She added, 'if we change the law, and we end criminal sanctions so that people feel they can get support if they need it, and then explore if we can regulate cannabis."