The government is looking at legalizing industrial hemp production in Fiji by sourcing hemp seeds from Canada.
Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says industrial hemp is a lucrative and largely untapped resource in the global economy due to misconceptions about what it really is.
Sayed-Khaiyum says they will be engaging with the United Nations office on drugs and crime to arrange for the Fiji National University and its Agriculture School to grow these industrial hemp seeds, following which the seeds will be distributed to local farmers.
“Industrial hemp is not the same as marijuana as we call it in Fiji. It contains very low level of THC and wouldn’t make anyone high regardless of how much they consume. However, the trick to getting this right is to ensure that we only import and cultivate industrial hemp with THC levels below 1% that such our amendments will lead to that effect.”
The government will be amending the Illicit Drugs Control Act 2004 and the Customs (Prohibited Import and Export) Regulations 1986 to make industrial hemp a conditional import item on the schedule.
Sayed-Khaiyum says these amendments will pave the way for the establishment of the industrial hemp export industry in Fiji.
“Industrial hemp will only be allowed into the country for the purpose of cultivation and export once independent laboratory testing confirms the THC contents to be below 1%.”
Sayed-Khaiyum says this level of THC will not allow any user to get high, despite the quantity consumed.
Hemp is a desired compound for the fiber industries to manufacture rope, canvas, paper, clothing, and alternative textiles.