Sunvoice

More Needs To Be Done To Eradicate Marijuana

The Police drug raids around the country highlight the seriousness of the illegal marijuana trade in the country. It is obvious that more people are  joining the illicit trade because
17 Jan 2015 11:46
More Needs To Be Done To Eradicate Marijuana

The Police drug raids around the country highlight the seriousness of the illegal marijuana trade in the country. It is obvious that more people are  joining the illicit trade because it’s a lucrative source of income.

Proceeds from marijuana have provided its farmers and traders much needed-cash to improve their living standards. In some cases, they have helped to prop up businesses.

The Police are doing an excellent job by uprooting marijuana plants in several raids under Operation Sasamaki. Over the years, similar operations were carried out in a bid to eradicate the problem. But it has not been destroyed. It may go into hibernation for a while but then it resurfaces.

More than 1000 plants in one farm in Kadavu is a high figure in comparison to other seizures. The street value of one fully grown plant is $500.  That means the Kadavu plants would have fetched $500,000. It’s this kind of money that is luring people into the marijuana trade. Islands that have small Police presence become a haven for cultivators.

It is public knowledge that there are people who have built up their wealth in a brief period. The maths do not add up when  the economic activities in the areas are assessed. Where did the money come from? Clearly, this is a case of supply and demand.

If we are to eradicate the problem, the attack should be two-pronged. One is to target the suppliers which the police are currently doing. Second is to go for the buyers and users .

The focus on the suppliers or the farmers would be to direct them to alternative sources of income.  But first they must learn that it’s not worth it. Offenders caught, tried, and found guilty, should be given tougher sentences, to act as a deterrent. All the assets and wealth they amass from the procceds of the illegal trade, should be confiscated. It appears that  those involved are prepared to take the risk, even going to jail. After they serve their  sentence, they return to their illegal business.

Maybe there needs to be dedicated drug teams in the islands and rural areas to monitor the drug trade and act accordingly.

The trade has outgrown the resources available to combat it.  The Police are doing the best they can with the resources available. More funds are required to keep the momentum of the Police blitz going.

The other focus would be the buyers and users.  As long as they exist, marijuana will continue to be planted. Cutting  them off from the equation  will eventually kill off the supply. There is no easy and quick fix to the problem. It requires constant vigilance and action when the need arises. The Police cannot do it alone. They need the support of all stakeholders, the community, the family, schools, faith groups, Govt agencies, non-governmental organisations, sports and social groups.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj




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