Pot issue generates huge interests

Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.Picture:File

ATTORNEY-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Fijians have a very shallow understanding of the use of marijuana and there is a need to understand this kind of social issues to ensure we are on the same page with what is happening with the rest of the world.

He noted this while closing the 21st Attorney-General’s Conference at Natadola’s InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa yesterday. A topic that generated the most discussion in the two-day annual event was the need for weed-legal medicinal marijuana.

“Our ability to understand this kind of social issues is very critically important to ensure we are on the same page with what is happening with the rest of the world,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“I think and as you know that many civilisations have used that and we need to kind of demystify perhaps understand the law and the ability to deal with it.

“We have of course a very shallow understanding of marijuana and everyone thinks you can smoke and get high, there are certain types of marijuana depending on their contents.”

Post-1987, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the then government had put in place a law that those found with a little bit of marijuana would be handed jail sentences.

Those prosecuted were mostly between the ages of 17 and 23 from low-income families.

Fiji National University anesthesiologist Dr Kenton Biribo, while presenting on the topic, said requests were made to him for medicinal marijuana as they have used it in other countries as a form of remedy and they expected it to be given to them in Fiji too.

However, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the use of medicinal marijuana in Fiji was a topic that needed to be discussed thoroughly as there was a growing demand for it.

He added that many people have argued that perhaps the Harrison Act came into place because of the inability to tax marijuana while on the other hand, it was very easy to tax breweries.

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