Youth RISE joined a coalition of drug policy reform civil society organizations to discuss and to assess opportunities for advocacy around the Narcotics Commission Bill (NCC bill 2019) before the Ghanaian parliament. The meeting in Accra, convened by Ane Maria-Goretti of the International Drug Policy Consortium, brought together like-minded partners to form a common position and develop a strategy to achieve the passing of the NCC Bill into law. Ghana is a signatory to the international drug conventions and as such it currently implements the frameworks as documented in the conventions directly. The current bill consideration process is evidence that this is a breakaway from the outright criminalization of people who use drugs and is contradicting the conventions. The bill seeks to embrace the need to prioritize the health and human rights of people who use drugs.

For civil society organizations and partners, this is an opportunity to collaborate with policymakers and make critical inputs into the bill for its subsequent passing. This is why it is important that we mobilize in order to develop relevant tactics to support the passing of the bill into law. To achieve this our colleagues HAG, SSDP, POS Foundation, Save the Nation for Future Leaders, ICFAG, WADPN, Chartered Impex, WABHARM Foundation, WildGreens International Limited, Youth for Drug Policy Reform, Writ Comm., P3D Designs and Harm Reduction Alliance were present to support the worthy cause through sharing experiences relevant to the Ghanaian context, citing existing premise from the bill, the UN common position drugs and the overall benefits of cannabis. The meeting evolved with the formation of teams to drive the agenda. Our International Working Group member Daniel Nii Ankrah represented Youth RISE at the meeting and is part of a proposed strategic planning committee that has been set up to advance the advocacy on the NCC Bill. He will be working in a team to develop cutting edge strategies relevant to the ongoing bill consideration process and to consolidate the alliance’s efforts to get the bill passed into law. We trust that the strong drug reform alliance formed will spur the advocacy process to success.