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Pacific Islands: Head of Fiji NGO Calls for Debate on Marijuana Legalization

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #603)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

What to do about marijuana cultivation and consumption is an issue that continues to fester in the South Pacific island republic of Fiji. Pot farmers have battled police to protect their crops and complained to their representatives about being harassed.

Kuata island, Fiji (CIA World Fact Book)
Consumption is high, and good citizens worry about things like pot-smoking by elite athletes. And the Fijan police do what prohibitionist police do: destroy crops and make marijuana busts. Just a few weeks ago, police bragged about seizing $50 million worth of weed from one popular growing region over the past five years.

Now, in the latest marijuana policy flare-up, the head of the Fiji Council of Social Services, a non-governmental organization, has called for the government to discuss legalizing marijuana. In a statement last week thanking the government for taking a dispassionate stance on whether to allow casinos on the islands, council head Hassan Khan suggested the government apply that same dispassionate stance -- without injecting religious fervor -- toward discussing marijuana legalization. Marijuana sales could provide revenue for Fiji, he said.

It already provides an income for many families on the islands. A school principal bemoaning pot-smoking by students said that marijuana farming supported most of his students' families. "It's their livelihood, so the children will see it from there," he said.

Khan's comments, as mild as they were, excited an outraged reaction from at least one Fijian blogger. "Bloggers, well now you have Hassan Khan, the Director for Human Services openly advocating for the lawful sale of marijuana to provide extra revenue for Fiji!" warned a blogger known as "Free Fiji." "He should be ashamed of himself and resign! I ask Khan, apart from his short sighted revenue making, what will it cost the tax payers of Fiji in terms of social and cultural denigration? Khan would not even dare saying the same thing in India or Pakistan. I cannot help but suspect some sinister motive to decimate the Fijian race and this kind of open advocating of legalizing an illegal substance, which is illegal in most part of the world is truly shocking. I like to challenge you 'silent ones' do you continue to pretend all is okay in the heartland, where people in positions of responsibilities openly advocating the potential sale of marijuana or are you too stoned out of your head to think clearly?"

And so go the cannabis culture wars in the South Pacific.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Buzzby (not verified)

do you continue to pretend all is okay in the heartland, where people in positions of responsibilities openly advocating the potential sale of marijuana or are you too stoned out of your head to think clearly?

Given only those two choices, I'd definitely have to take the former one, although I object to the word "pretend".

One doesn't need to be stoned to realize that marijuana prohibition has not worked, does not work, and will never work. In my opinion, responsible people deal with realities, not abstract ideals. It's human nature to desire to alter consciousness. People always have and always will. To try and legislate against human nature demonstrates a lack of engagement with the real world. Since people will alter their consciousness, the practical and humane way to deal with it is to provide them with access to the safest means of doing so: marijuana.

Fri, 10/09/2009 - 7:50pm Permalink
Fireweed (not verified)

that response by that Fiji blogger is reflective of the ignorance of the non-pot-smoking population about the effects of smoking cannabis. The assumption that a) cannabis use automatically leads to degradation of social and occupational functioning and b) legalization would lead to widespread use-as if there weren't widespread use worldwide already-and as if there'd be a major damburst of people trying pot for the first time and getting fiendishly hooked and crazed; both assumptions are incredibly false and there is now an ample pool of subjects if people wanted to do a study on the effects of pot smoking, both short and long term.

They recently disproved the pot-schizophrenia connection by pointing out that we've had enough time and yet there is no correlating increase in occurrence of schizophrenia that we should be seeing, if this hypothesis were true. We've had over 40 years now of populations with marijuana use and there is now ample opportunity to do research on people using medical marijuana.

so if NORML were to keep up the television exposure and MPP and the other orgs would fall in line, it would start happening. Getting the truth out on this herb and changing people's minds is where the solution lies.

Fri, 10/09/2009 - 8:46pm Permalink
hawkshaw (not verified)

If Marijuana was legal we would not need oil wells destroying our oceans and land,poisoning oyr lands and waterways, there are so many medicinal uses for it,numerous products can be made from i,clothes,foods,sails,eatable dishes, no more plastics,no need for insectacides as it needs none,we can clean up mother earth and give up back our planet. ITS THE GODS GIVEN TREE OF LIFE

Sun, 08/01/2010 - 7:38pm Permalink
Stephen Wolfe II (not verified)

The biggest issue that no one seems to cover is that almost all of these chemical substances that are dubbed "illegal" occur naturally in the human brain. To outlaw things such as THC and Psylocin is quite arrogant and essentially makes all humans, under federal law, illegal posessors of narcotics. This is blatant fact and can be found in any text book about the human brain and psyche. What we are looking at is literally a government criminalizing humans for going into a dreamstate without sleeping in a bed the "correct" way. It is not only pathetic but really shows the ignorance of humans trying to be gods over other humans.


Mon, 02/21/2011 - 8:01am Permalink
SunnyHours (not verified)

In reply to by Stephen Wolfe II (not verified)

I totally disagree with you. THC and Psilocybin does NOT exist in the human body or brain at all. We do have specific receptors for those drugs though. THC binds to Cannabinoïd receptors in the brain (and throughout the body) and Psilocybin binds to 5HT-1 and 5HT-2 mostly. What you are reffering too might be DMT which is indeed found in the brain and is supposed to be the mechanism of action responsible for the Hallucinations people get when they are clinically dead for a few moments.

In my opinion though, all drugs should be controlled by the Government and available to the general population with the appropriate regulations applied to each type of drug. All the taxes and money invested in the Drug War could be utilized for Harm Reduction and Treatment clinics for addiction...for FREE!

This is only my opinion though...

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 8:35pm Permalink

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