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Opinion

LETTERS: Medicinal cannabis industry

Tuesday 23 August 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion

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LETTERS: Medicinal cannabis industry

Dear Editor, in your Saturday paper it was really underwhelming to read that Chamber of Commerce chief executive Rebecca Tavioni was touting the French Polynesia top three products – fish(tuna), black pearls, and vanilla to be incorporated into the Cook Islands economy.

This is all well and fine but it is small potatoes and it pales in importance to the lucrative medicinal cannabis industry that we need to get up and running in the Cook Islands to immediately decrease our nation’s soaring debt.

French Polynesia has no medicinal cannabis industry, we are on the verge of a just and equitable medicinal cannabis industry.   

The benefits of millions of dollars raised in tax, fees and licensing revenues related to medicinal marijuana sales must be our top priority.

The Chamber of Commerce needs to hit the ground running to liaise with the Government to regulate the industry so it’s safe and legal and by reinvesting the tax revenue earned from marijuana sales, we’ll begin to rebuild our community devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Chamber needs to work with the Government in preventing corruption and preserving competition in our soon to be medicinal cannabis industry.

Like many industries in the Cook Islands, the medicinal cannabis industry must fundamentally rest on fair competition and creating opportunities for working families, the Chamber needs to vigilantly work to prevent the corporate and crony capitalism that is so prevalent in our society.

They need to get in there and help small farmers and investors in this highly profitable industry with smart regulations that preserve access and competition.

They can help preserve market access and competition for the small players in our nation to help them enrich themselves and their families. And they need to help consumers by closely regulating the safety and marketing of cannabis products.

So the Chamber of Commerce needs to pursue all capitalist ventures with French Polynesia but they must be on the back burner because the Cook Islands is moving away from the policies of marijuana prohibition, and cannabis products can create significant business opportunities with broad scale riches. 

And one more thing of note Mr. Editor, in your Saturday paper, was Cook Islands Tourism Corporation chief executive Karla Eggelton discussing Air Tahiti Nui operations for connectivity into the US and European markets?

This is a veritable dead end street, our best way forward is to bring back the LA to Raro flight, in order to do this the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation needs to stay at home and start working the phones and start concentrating on making money hand over fist by promoting our medicinal cannabis industry for tourists to flock to. 

This increased revenue can be used to up the ante to entice Air New Zealand to bring back the LA to Raro flight. (Prime Minister) Mark Brown needs to directly negotiate with (New Zealand PM) Jacinda Ardern to do everything he can to make this happen or we are in for a world of hurt.

Sincerely, 

Steve Boggs  


Reply – It is good to see such enthusiasm for potential future markets within our country, it is also reassuring to know the activities the Chamber is currently active in such as the review of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy is in line with your writer’s opinion. Should the writer have comments on the draft National Anti-Corruption Strategy – which is currently open for public comment until 27 August 2022 – please feel free to share them with our office or voice directly with the coordinating government agency. The Chamber has formulated a response to government encompassing of all private sector industries. The Chamber is non-selective in the businesses and industries it supports to operate in te Iti Tangata and prioritizes matters in accordance with the direct impact it has on our membership group. To learn more about the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce and the activities undertaken within our office feel free to stop by our office.

Rebecca Tavioni, CEO

Chamber of Commerce


Editor’s note – Sixty-two (62) per cent of the voters said “yes” to the cannabis referendum during the 2022 general election on August 1 – 35 per cent voted “no” and the remaining 3 per cent were “informal”. Voters were asked to vote on a referendum asking “Should we review our cannabis laws to allow for research and medicinal use?” Prime Minister Mark Brown earlier said overwhelming favourable response to the cannabis referendum will allow the Government to move quickly in legalising medicinal cannabis and opening up further research. Government will be looking very quickly to establish a regime to allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis for their patients.