French Polynesia votes to legalize medical cannabis (but…)

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The Polynesian assembly adopted this Thursday, November 17 the legalization of medical cannabis. Local parliamentarians, however, fear the fragility of the text and denounce the opportunism of the State which acted without consultation.

The Polynesian President, Edouard Fritch, is indeed dragging out the legalization of the therapeutic use of cannabis, a policy which is a competence of the Polynesian State and which does not need the approval of the metropolis. Fritch, who regularly speaks of the “perverse effects” of medical cannabis and of a necessary “societal debate”, until recently preferred the results of a study carried out in Polynesia on local varieties of cannabis before to be able to submit a text.

However, the Polynesian government presented a text this week on the modification of the classification of poisonous substances, which would make it possible to set up a derogatory regime in Polynesia for cannabis for therapeutic use, from its production to its marketing.

However, the government’s text would have flaws that could well have it annulled by the courts, according to local reports. Moreover, it is accused both of arriving shortly before important elections and of not having been written in consultation with professionals and social partners. It also short-circuits a more complete bill which was tabled more than a year ago by MP Nicole Sanquer, a notable opposition figure to President Edouard Fritch, without ever having been studied.

For the president of the party A Here ia Porinetia, the country’s law on therapeutic cannabis is a “disappointment”.

“This text has not been the subject of any consultation of local actors, traditional healers, patients themselves even though the president had called for a broad consultation” she explains to Radio1.

According to her, the definitions contained in article 1 are tainted with illegality, and the text could be annulled by the courts, as was the case in 2018.

“The government directly legalizes the use of therapeutic cannabis but does not go through an experimental phase. We saw in the legislative commission that the project was not mature, that the minister [de la Santé] could not answer our questions on the pathologies targeted, on the prescription, on the distribution, all that is vague and moreover the minister said it today, if the bill of the Country is voted today , its application could be postponed for a year or even several years” says Nicole Sanquer, “since for its application the assembly will still have to vote on deliberations and the Council of Ministers will have to validate several decrees. »

The legislator must now approve the text so that it becomes law, which should take place by the end of the year.

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