President George Manneh Weah has taken a significant step in combatting the issue of drug abuse in Liberia by officially enacting the Control Drug and Substance Act of 2023, also known as the Drug Law.
Through an official statement from the Executive Mansion, the President fulfilled this important duty on July 12, following the recent approval of the Drug Bill by the National Legislature. This decision came after months of careful consideration and deliberation.
The primary objective of this new law is to establish regulations and restrictions to control and eradicate the illegal importation, exportation, and use of narcotic substances within the borders of the Republic.
One crucial aspect of the law involves imposing penalties for specific offenses, such as the unauthorized importation of controlled drugs or substances into the country. According to the law, anyone who deliberately or knowingly imports controlled drugs or substances without the required license from the Minister will be committing a crime.
Furthermore, the law specifies that the severity of the offense will depend on the nature of the drug or substance in question, as outlined in the Act. Offenders will be charged with a felony of the first degree, and the punishment may range from a maximum prison term of ten years to a maximum of twenty years, in accordance with the provisions stated in sections 50.5 and 50.6 of the Penal Code 1.
It is crucial to note that this offense is considered grave and non-bailable.
Additionally, the Act defines the penalties for offenses involving drugs or substances listed in schedule II, III, and IV, which are intended for trafficking purposes. Offenders will be charged with a second-degree felony, and the punishment will range from a minimum of five years to a maximum of ten years, as stated in sections 50.5 and 50.6 of the Penal Law of Liberia.
Regarding bail, the Act specifies that only cash or bank deposits equivalent to the value of the bond, with evidence provided by a bank certificate, will be accepted.
The law also addresses the offense of unlicensed manufacture of controlled drugs or substances. Engaging in the production or preparation of drugs or substances listed in Schedules I, II, III, IV, or precursor or essential chemicals listed in Table I and Table II of the Act without a license will be considered a crime. Offenders will be charged with a felony of the first degree. If the substances are used for purposes other than manufacturing, the offense will be considered a second-degree felony. The prescribed punishment for these offenses is a prison sentence ranging from ten to twenty years, as outlined in Section 50.5 and 50.6 of the Penal Law of Liberia.
The passing and signing of this law demonstrate President Weah’s strong commitment to combating the widespread issue of illegal drug use and substance abuse, which poses a significant threat to Liberian society and jeopardizes the future of thousands of young Liberians.