Narcotics and Psychotropic substance bill among the five bills signed by Museveni into law

Man Jose Kayima

The deputy speaker of parliament, Thomas Tayebwa said on Tuesday that the president has assented to the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill 2024, Judicature Amendment Bill 2023, The Explosives Act 2023, Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act, 2023 and The Competition Act 2023.

The Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Bill, 2023 allows the licenced farming and use of marijuana strictly for medical use, and sets harsh penalties for a multitude of offences related to substances abuse.

The new law allows the cultivation of marijuana and khat strictly for medical and other authorised use, with extreme penalties included like forfeiture of properties and lengthy jail terms and hefty fines for violators.

It was passed by parliament last year.

On the other side, the Civil Aviation Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2024 that will bring Uganda’s aviation authority in conformity with the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

It gives powers to a chief investigator to cause an investigation to be carried out where an aircraft accident or serious incident happens in Uganda or in any contracting state that does not intend to carry out an investigation.

The chief investigator will also lead investigations into an accident or serious incident that occurs in Uganda or outside Uganda involving an aircraft registered in Uganda or an aircraft operated by an operator in Uganda.

It was passed by parliament earlier this month.

The Judicature (Amendment) Bill, 2023 will see an increase in the number of judges on both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court is the highest Court of judicature in Uganda while the Court of Appeal, which also sits as the Constitutional Court, listens to appeals from the High Court.

The Explosives Act 2023 is meant to streamline the licensing of explosives and its use in the mining sector, repeal the existing Explosives Act 1936, and create the position of Chief Explosives Inspector, among others.

The law defines explosives and seeks to steer clear of explosives imported for use as war material by security agencies, restricting itself to explosives used in mining and other related undertakings.

Clause 28 is meant to severely punish the unlicensed use or possession of explosives, suggesting that offenders should suffer a fine of Shs10 billion or a 10 years jail term or both such imprisonment and fine.

In clause 29, the procedure for obtaining a licence for purposes of importing or using explosives is proposed, with the Minister of Internal Affairs given possible sweeping powers in even determining the licencing fees.

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