The Fiji government is looking to generate other sources of revenue and the creation of a medical cannabis industry is on its list of potential options to replace a tourism industry hit hard by COVID.
“Relying solely on tourism is not sustainable for our economy,” said Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica. “We must explore new avenues to generate revenue and diversify our economy. Medicinal cannabis cultivation is a promising area that we are looking at.”
Deputy Prime Minister Manoa Kamikamica clarified that such an undertaking would not take place in an environment without regulation and that the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes was certainly not on the agenda. Moreover, the medical cannabis cultivated as part of this initiative would not be destined for the country.
“It is essential to understand that this activity will be closely regulated and confined to secure facilities. There will be no local sales or marketing; the products will be harvested, processed and exported. »
This prospect has already attracted the attention of pharmaceutical companies, one of which is also interested in the potential for exporting traditional Fijian medicine (Wai Vaka Viti) to international markets.
“This initiative goes beyond just generating income; it’s an opportunity to create jobs, strengthen our economy and potentially improve the lives of people in need,” Mr. Kamikamica said.
One of the next steps will be to hold nationwide consultations to enable the country’s citizens to provide information that will help shape the future of medicinal cannabis in Fiji.
Along the same lines, it was only last year that legislative changes permitted the importation, possession, cultivation, sale and supply of industrial hemp in Fiji, defined as Cannabis whose THC concentration does not exceed 1%.
Fiji’s President Wiliame Katonivere has strongly supported exploring hemp’s potential and said in 2021 that the country “must not hesitate” to capitalize on its economic benefits.