In New Drug Law, Senate Eyes Stiffer Measures against Traffickers than Users

Senate Pro Tempore Albert Tugbe Chie.  

— Conference committee expected to harmonize deliberations from Lower House

Following hours of combative debate, the Liberian Senate voting on record, has finally passed into law the ‘Controlled Drug and Substances Act of 2014’.

Taking the decision during its session last Thursday, the Senate categorized the drug crime into two categories — non-bailable and bailable — depending on the gravity of the crime.

In the wisdom of the Liberian Senate, those who are involved in the importation, distribution, massive production and custody of the illicit drugs shall not be granted the right to a bail when caught in the act, while the end users of the drug shall have the right to a bail when apprehended in the act.

The passage of the Act was preceded by a report of the Senate Judiciary, Claims and Petitions Committee and by a motion filed by Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence. During the unanimous vote, 22 Senators voted yes, while Gbarpolu County Senator Gbotoe Kanneh abstained. 

Meanwhile, President Pro Tempore Albert Chie has appointed a Conference Committee to work with the House of Representatives in harmonizing key components of the Act, which was previously passed by the House of Representatives for onward submission to the Liberian Senate for concurrence.

Those appointed to the Conference Committee include Senators H. Varney G. Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County, Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence of Grand Bassa County, Augustine Chea of Sinoe County, Steve A. Zargo and Joseph K. Jallah of Lofa County. 

In another development, the Liberian Senate last week announced a short break until November 22, 2022 as a result of the conduct of the National Population and Housing Census, which was expected to begin on Friday, November 11, 2022.

The Senate took the decision upon signing of a resolution to approve census from November 11, 2022 to November 22, 2022 in order to afford Senators the opportunity to return to their various counties so as to be enumerated (counted).