'wee' enclave
'wee' enclave

The Drug Law Enforcement Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service has recently uncovered hundreds of acres of farmland dedicated to the cultivation of plants suspected to be Indian Hemp.

The enclave, which is located behind the Tome Mountain at Peki in the South Dayi District of the Volta Region, was discovered following police intelligence on the illegal cultivation of the plant which now requires legal documentation to cultivate for industrial and pharmaceutical purposes in Ghana.

A visit to the site revealed hundreds of farmlands dedicated to the cultivation of the substance as far as the eyes can see; right from the slope of the chain mountain into the valleys and the vast land all around. The many farms which were for different owners had hamlets and had maize farms as boundaries differentiating one farm from the other.

The operation, which was led by the Drug Law Enforcement Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) with support from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit from the Volta Police Command and the Peki Divisional Police Command, lasted an entire day.

Director in charge of the Drug Law Enforcement Unit at the CID Headquarters, Supt. David Selorm Hukporti said the 60-man operation even with the aid of motorised cutters and cutlasses could barely destroy 20% of the farms in the area.

With the help of a drone, the location which initially looked like a small enclave was discovered to be so vast and hidden such that it would have been difficult to detect and assess.

He noted that they would have to return with more men and machinery to clear the entire area since the cultivation was being done illegally.

He said the location of the area makes the nefarious activity conducive as it was inaccessible by vehicle from both the Peki side and the Boso side in the Asugyaman District of the Eastern region which was a much easier access route.

The team initially wanted to go through the Peki route since the area was under the Peki Police District but realised it would be herculean and used the Boso route. Even that they had to park their vehicles at a point and walk for over an hour through some thick forests.

Two persons who were living in two of the many hamlets scattered in the enclave were arrested in the course of the operation and are since assisting with investigations.

It was obvious the farmers also engages in animal production, as goats, sheep, duck and chicken were seen hovering in the enclave.

Supt. Hukporti noted that the Narcotics Control Commission Bill of 2019, which was passed into law in March 2020, did not permit the recreational use and cultivation as is perceived by the public.

Instead, it permitted people to apply for authorisation to cultivate and possess substances like Indian Hemp for industrial and pharmaceutical use only.

To this end, all who want to engage in cannabis cultivation must go through the right process to do so, else their farms will be destroyed and they will also be arrested and prosecuted as prescribed by the law.

When things are put in place properly, they can apply to the Ministry of Interior and then all other due diligence will be done and they will be permitted, he noted.