Be like Amsterdam, and get the country out of debt

Wednesday April 25, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor, Aue te kavamani kite kore!


Rather than arresting people for supplying cannabis, the Cook Islands should get on to a get out of debt idea and become the first Amsterdam of the Pacific!

The Cook Islands government should take the lead to legalise and control cannabis, to create jobs – for example planters/growers and retailers/coffee shops!

Tourism will increase 100-1000 per cent more times more throughout the year, bringing in hundreds of millions of much needed dollars to the Cook Islands!  This will also bring back our people from living overseas to the opportunities of being part of this money-making adventure! Start off with a two for five-year trial and if financially successful...need I say more!

Education at school and for the locals will play a big part as only the negative side to cannabis is seen. Alcohol is a much greater problem than Mother Earth’s cannabis!

            Ioteva MacCauley

Editor’s note: We are told that back in the 1980s, there was a story in Playboy magazine, of all publications, about a Mangaian MP named Matepi Matepi who proposed that as the pineapple industry was waning, the Cook Islands should seriously look at cultivating cannabis as a revenue-earner.

The story said the idea was tabled in parliament but was ridiculed by former prime minister Sir Geoffrey Henry when he was in opposition.

“It could be said that Matepi Matepi was ahead of his time,” a political commentator, who asked not to be named, says.

“The method and the speed that cannabis is being legalised in the US is quite remarkable. But in saying that they have built safety nets and done a tonne of community consultation around its introduction.

“It’s proving a major revenue earner for some of the towns in the north east of the US who have legalised it and according to the media, there was initially opposition to its introduction by certain councillors.

 However, two years after its introduction the same councillors were interviewed and their position had reversed as a result of increased revenue going towards infrastructure, health care and education, with a fall in crime also noted.

“In this instance the government can’t be accused of being “kite kore”, as the practice (of using cannabis) is unlawful.

“There is a saying that the first movers get the biggest advantage, but the Cook Islands is a long way off from taking that path.”

CINews passed MacCauley’s letter on to the Cook Islands Police Service, Tourism Corporation chief executive Halatoa Fua, and finance minister Mark Brown for comment.

Nothing was heard from the latter two, but police spokesman Trevor Pitt said the service would not be engaging it what was essentially a policy debate about illicit drugs.

“That is a debate for those who make policy and the law. The public is entitled to put forward their views.

The police will continue to enforce the law to the extent that criminal activity is dealt with in the interests of the community.”

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