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LETTER TO EDITOR: Legalising medicinal cannabis

Thursday 16 February 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in


LETTER TO EDITOR: Legalising medicinal cannabis

Dear Editor, Thailand legalised the growing of marijuana and its consumption in food and drink last June and removed cannabis from its list of banned narcotics. The Southeast Asian country has seen the move boost its agriculture and tourism industry and allowed the plant to be used for medicinal purposes.

We in the Cook Islands can do something similar by quickly legalising medicinal cannabis products for our own health and economic prosperity.

The Thailand Government put all these measures in for the legalisation of cannabis quickly because of the urgency required after the meltdown of their economy caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, knowing full well they would be passing comprehensive legislation further down the road.

We must immediately open up this window of opportunity and decide to open up shop because we as a nation are haemorrhaging money and our debt continues to soar. We can’t afford to wait for our Medicinal Cannabis Committee to come up with a final draft and then wait even further for its passage into law, too many precious months will go by for us to start cashing in on so many beneficial levels for the betterment of us all.

Again, as I’ve stated in a prior letter to the Cook Islands News, the Executive Council can meet in the very new future and strike all the laws criminalising cannabis under the Drugs Act and simultaneously while this is happening the Ministry of Health can adopt the medicinal cannabis plan of Canada because that provision is in their Act. We need to get seeds in the ground now.

And again, this doesn’t legalise the use of marijuana for recreational use because those who continue to go down that path can be prosecuted under the MOH Act 2013.

Our medicinal cannabis legalisation could now be coupled with the post-Covid return of international tourism; it will open the floodgates for medicinal cannabis businesses to reap considerable profits.

Another very important recent topic in our nation is the laws surrounding the importation of medicinal cannabis products by people arriving in our nation.

If you are travelling to New Zealand you may bring a medicinal product into NZ only if:

  • the product has been prescribed by your doctor,
  • you have a copy of the prescription or a letter from your doctor stating that you are being treated with the product on your passenger arrival card.

The same procedure must be afforded and applied to entering the Cook Islands from NZ as long as all the necessary requirements are met.

Can we start treating tourists and returning Cook Islanders to our shores with a modern up to date procedure for possessing medicinal products in this nation?

I know this is pretty new to Customs but we have to get up to speed and let the rest of the world know we are going to move forward with our medicinal cannabis industry and everyone is welcome to benefit from these wonderful products as long as they follow the law.


Steve Boggs