Given that the vast majority of Cook Islanders, 62 per cent voted in favour of medicinal cannabis being introduced into the Cook Islands, the Prime Minister Mark Brown has the authority and the command to legally change the Narcotics and Misuse of Drugs Act 2004 in so many different ways, in order to introduce a medicinal cannabis plan that suits us and does not defeat the purpose of making this medicine available at cost effective prices.
Also under the MOH (Ministry of Health) Act 2013 the
PM has many pathways to launch a medical marijuana plan for the people of the
I’m only going to be touching on one route forward in
each of these Acts to begin with and more will follow in subsequent letters to
Under the Narcotics and Misuse of Drugs Act 2004, Part
1(2), the King’s Representative, by order of Executive Council (the PM and his
Cabinet) “may release or free any law of the Executive Government of the Cook Islands,
either absolutely or to any extent or range or degree and subject to compliance
with any such condition of this Act, or the provision of this Act so specified
as the case may require should not bind the Crown in right of that instrument
In layman terms, the Executive Council can free up the
barbaric and inhumane laws on marijuana that have brutalised our people for decades.
They can strike them off the books.
Also in Part 4 of the MOH Act 2013, titled “Powers of
the Ministry to Regulate the Health Sector”, TMO can apply standards, rules, operating
procedures, guidelines or codes of practice or those applying in any
appropriate country and may be adopted by any regulatory purpose under the Act.
And that includes any Pharmaceutical or Therapeutics products and this can all
be done by simply having the Minister of Health put it in writing.
In other words, medicinal cannabis can be introduced
through the MOH Act 2013.
We would need to adopt Canada’s medicinal cannabis
plan that was legalised in 2001 and the Canadian authorities have constantly
improved their regulations over the years.
Joining the Canada medical marijuana programme is easy
and works in just a few simple steps for a patient to qualify for that national
The last plans we would want to follow is either New
Zealand or Australia. They have some of the strictest cannabis products
regulations in the world and the most challenging market to register products,
so it’s a no brainer we would ever want to go that route.
If TMO is even considering looking at NZ or Australia
medical marijuana plan, they would be doing a great disservice to the Cook
Islands people and it would be an egregious dereliction of duty on their part.
Visitor numbers down
My suggestion is to work on getting Air New Zealand,
Qantas or Air Canada involved on a flight from Australia to Vancouver/Seattle
with a stop in Rarotonga. This will bring back tourists from both Australia and
PM (Mark) Brown previously stated how the Cooks have a
foothold in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and Alaska),
and this region is important for the low season in December and beyond. As
such, it is important to reconnect this region to the Cooks.
Air NZ and Qantas already fly to Vancouver, so if they
could do a weekly or twice weekly flight that starts in Australia and goes to
Vancouver or Seattle, they would kill two birds with one stone. Given Air
Canada partners with NZ in Star Alliance and flies Vancouver to Auckland, they
could also fill the void.
Some creative thinking and cooperation could solve the
Air NZ have absolutely stuffed the Cooks this summer.
We pumped 10’s of millions into the airline through the LA and Sydney
underwrites and provide them with their most profitable Pacific route. Greg
Foran is showing a ruthless business sense not based on relationships, but
based solely on the economics. Short sighted for sure.