Editorial: President Weah’s Commitment To Fight Illegal Drugs And Substance Abuse
AFTER MONTHS OF thoughtful introspections and deliberations on one of the major national issues some political actors and stakeholders have even dubbed a threat to national security, President George Manneh Weah on Wednesday, July 12, 2023 signed into law the landmark the Control Drug and Substance Act of 2023, recently passed by the National Legislature.
THE CONTROL DRUG and Substance Act of 2023 aims to regulate, restrict, control, limit or eradicate the illegal export and importation, as well as the flagrant use, abuse and proliferation of narcotic substances within the bailiwick of the Republic. In passing the new substance control act, the Legislature turn their attention to youthful population of the nation, largely affected by the abuse of illegal narcotics. Many observers and critics have blamed the situation on the laxity of the law, citing the need to make drug a non-bailable offense. In the new drug law, the tightening of the screw has arrived.
THE LAW, IN part, provides penalties for specified offenses, such as the unlicensed and unauthorized importation of controlled drugs or substances into the country. The law, for example, states, “A person commits an offense if he/she purposely or knowingly imports into Liberia any controlled drugs or substances without a license from the Minister.” It further added, “The offense of unlicensed importing of controlled drug or substances shall be graded as where the subject matter of the offense is a drug or substances, as prescribed by the Act. The person shall be guilty of a felony of the first degree and punishable to a prison of a maximum of ten years and not exceeding twenty years, consistent with provisions of the Penal Code 1, section 50.5 and 50.6.” It is clearly noted that the offense shall be a grave offense and shall not be bailable.
THE ACT OUTLINES where the subject matter of the offense is a drug or substances listed in schedule II, III and lV of the law to be used for the purpose of trafficking, the person shall be guilty of a second degree felony punishable to a prison term of not less than five years and not exceeding ten years, pursuant to the provisions of section 50.5 and 50.6 of the Penal Law of Liberia.
“AS TO THE matter of bail,” the Act states, “only cash to the value of the bond or cash deposit in the bank to the value of the bond as evidenced by a bank certificate.” With regard to unlicensed manufacture of controlled drugs or substances, a person commits an offense if he engages in the manufacture or preparation of any drug or substances listed in Schedules I, II, lll, IV, or precursor or essential chemicals listed in Table I and Table II of the Act without a license.
ACCORDING TO THE law, such person shall be guilty of a felony of the first degree and, if used otherwise, shall be guilty of a second degree felony and shall face jail sentence between 10 to 20 years or as prescribed in Section 50.5 and 50.5 of the Penal Law of Liberia.
THE PASSAGE AND subsequent signing of the law, according to an Executive Mansion release, further signifies President Weah’s commitment to fight illegal drugs and substance abuse, a menace that has plagued society, endangering and rubbing thousands of Liberian youth of a good future.