Newsbrief: Fiji Marijuana Farmers Resist Police Raids 7/16/04

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Marijuana farmers in the Fiji Islands are fighting back against law enforcement efforts to seize their crops, the Fiji Times reported on July 11. While the Times reported that the farmers "are not violent," their tactics have reportedly included throwing nails onto roads in the area to puncture the tires of police vehicles and killing the cattle and destroying the crops of informers.

Matters came to a head early this month when a team of 30 officers entered the Navosa highlands, where they uprooted 1,819 plants in one raid and 2,335 in another. As the team was returning from the raids, a tire blew in the police vehicle. Upon investigation, officers found the road strewn with nails.

"Police officers got out of the vehicles to check and they found nails thrown on the road," a police spokesman told the Fiji Times. "We faced the same problem again on [two days later] while returning to the police station after a raid in the interior of Korolevu. Police officers again found lots of nails thrown on the road," he said. Three more vehicles had blown tires, he reported.

Police blame the pot farmers and a community that, at least in part, supports them. "It is the marijuana cultivators, and we believe that it is being deliberately done to try and keep us away," the police spokesman said. "We have the support of only some villagers from the area and others are not assisting because of various reasons," he said.

Peasants in the interior of the islands have turned to marijuana cultivation as a source of income in the face of a tough economy, according to the Times. The Fiji Post reported Tuesday that more raids had occurred.

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Issue #346, 7/16/04 In the Wake of Blakely: Senate Committee Hearing Seeks Sentencing Fix, 2nd Circuit Seeks Quick Supreme Court Hearing | Bryan Epis Appeal On Hold Pending Supreme Court Raich Review | Movie Review: Maria Full of Grace | Nevada Secretary of State Says No to Three Ballot Initiatives, Including Marijuana Measure -- Sponsors Go to Court | MPP Pulls Out of Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign -- Locals Vow to Continue Ballot Qualifying Effort | Newsbrief: Delaware General Assembly Calls for Repeal of Higher Education Act Anti-Drug Provision | Newsbrief: Fiji Marijuana Farmers Resist Police Raids | Newsbrief: Drug Czar Flack Barthwell Steps Down in Senate Bid | Newsbrief: Iran Allows Harm Reduction Efforts in Heroin Fight (Unofficially, Of Course) | Newsbrief: Hiring Freeze at Federal Bureau of Prisons, Layoffs Possible Next Year | Newsbrief: Another Pain Doctor Indicted -- Could Face Death Sentence | Newsbrief: 20th Anniversary of Law Raising Drinking Age to 21 | This Week in History | Media Scan: Reason on Kerry, Daily Camera on New Prohibition | Job Opportunity: Communications Assistant, Drug Policy Alliance, NYC | The Reformer's Calendar

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