By Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, July 18, GNA - Professor Carl Hart, a Neuroscientist Drug Researcher at the Colombia University, on Wednesday arrived in Accra to deliver a public lecture on drug policy reforms.
He said, he was tipping Ghana to be the first African country to consider decriminalisation of drug use, especially marijuana.
He noted that this would be a good step for Ghana since other countries had done so, because they see drug users as their own brothers and sisters.
Prof Hart made these remarks in an interview with the Ghana News Agency upon his arrival at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.
Studies had consistently failed to establish the existence of a link between the harshness of a country’s drug laws and its levels of drug use.
The widespread criminalisation and punishment of people who use drugs, the over-crowded prisons, mean that the war on drugs is, to a significant degree, a war on drug users — a war on people.
Prof Hart is headlining the first public lecture on drug policy on Thursday, July 18, as the main speaker, an event organised by the POS Foundation, in collaboration with the West Africa Drug Policy Network and Crime Check Foundation.
The overall objective of the lecture is to engage communities, citizens and government officials on approaching drug policy formulation, compliance and implementation from a human right and public health perspective.
The Public dialogue would take the form of a screening of a documentary on the devastating effect of the current policy on communities.
This screening would be followed by an intensive lecture from Prof Hart.
Prof Hart told the GNA that he was hopeful the event would help Ghanaians to see how they could be leaders on the African continent, and as well send a message across the world particularly where there are Africans.
He said this would “champion the call that it was inappropriate to use drug laws to further marginalize people on the margins”.
“So, decriminalisation must start from the point where people will not be arrested, hence, drug policy will no longer be used as a tool to keep people subjugated and that is the most important thing,” he added.
Mr Jonathan Osei Owusu, the Executive Director of POS Foundation, facilitators of the Justice For All Programme, said: “The criminalisation of drug use is a direct criminalisation of poverty that compounds the problem of recidivism, compromising the future of the youth and endangering national security”.