NEWS

Expert Lauds Hemp Law

“It is durable, sustainable, easy to grow and can be grown abundantly. It will be a great sustainable income source for many Fiji farmers,” she said.
04 Aug 2022 15:51
Expert Lauds Hemp Law
Local psychologist Selina Kuruleca in Suva on August 3, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Renowned psychologist Selina Kuruleca has labelled the establishment of industrial hemp in Fiji by the Government as “a great idea” that has “endless opportunities”.

She was commenting on the Illicit Drug Control Bill that was passed in Parliament last Friday. It focuses on the importation, possession, cultivation and sale of industrial hemp.

“It is durable, sustainable, easy to grow and can be grown abundantly. It will be a great sustainable income source for many Fiji farmers,” she said.

 

Given her vast experience and being the most senior mental health professional in the country, her support for the first-ever move of its kind in the country speaks volumes in terms of its benefits.

In July 29, 2022, Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said industrial hemp was one of the most versatile crops, with more than 50,000 uses, including food and nutrition.

He said the seeds would be used for food purposes, personal care, health and wellness, paper, textiles, building materials, medicines, pet bedding, plastic alternatives, bio-fuels and energy.

 

“This Bill just allows us to bring in the seeds and the plants and we need to start testing the soil and nutrient composition and verify the viability of the industrial hemp market for Fiji,” he said.

“We are working very closely with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime to make sure everything checks out and obviously, we get their endorsement too and establish a workable and not easily exploited system.

“We are also working with the Fiji National University to ensure, in particular the Agriculture School that we can test the cannabis plants and indeed the growth of the nursery at the Agriculture School in Koronivia.”

 

Ms Kuruleca recommended that full proper consultations with farmers, communities, students, policymakers and all stakeholders were needed to make a breakthrough in the drug.

“Market survey and viability – what are the products and where is the market, public awareness and education – educating the public, and our children on what it is and how it is different from marijuana, medicinal marijuana, and other potential products,” she said yesterday.

Ms Kuruleca said there was a need to make the drug a Fijian brand and extend its production line.

 

“I would also look at how we can develop medicinal marijuana. I would be interested and seriously consider investing in industrial hemp and medicinal marijuana,” she said.

She also believes consultation with all stakeholders from policy development, legislation, and development of infrastructure, products awareness and sales must also be done.

“And of course applying the same to any other hemp by product that is considered legal and marketable; including medical marijuana. The door should also be open to discussions on legislation of recreational marijuana use.”

 

Feedback: josefa.babitu@fijisun.com.fj



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