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7 January 2022

LETTERS: Hemp – a new cash crop

Thursday 6 January 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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LETTERS: Hemp – a new cash crop

Dear Editor, in December of 2020 the Fijian Government initiated talks for hemp to replace the sugar industry as the backbone of the economy.

Fiji saw the need to diversify its economy away from tourism. They were aware the environmental advantages to grow hemp were multiple, with no biosecurity risk. Domestic and foreign investment into agriculture would greatly benefit the economy. The Fijians were thinking about and planning the future with imagination. By December of 2021 the Fijian Government announced they will start to issue licenses to farmers to grow (industrial) hemp.

While all this was going on during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the people of the Cook Islands were calling out the Government to diversify away from an over-reliance on tourism.

So far, that shout out has fallen on deaf ears and nothing has been done to diversify the economy.

Instead of joining the lucrative global cannabis industry with projected growth to surpass over US$100 billion around the globe by 2025, Government has failed to cash in, while the national debt soars.

This letter writer called on Mark Brown to legalise the use, growth, and distribution of cannabinoids in the Cook Islands over three months ago.

But nothing has been done to reverse laws that ignorantly label cannabis a dangerous drug. And in doing so continues to make life miserable for some cannabis users.

The least that can be done is to allow for the importation of hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds can be grown into plants to make CBD oil. You can easily make CBD oil at home. While it won’t be crafted with the same precision of professional extracted CBD oils, a homemade batch is still safe. CBD oil is widely recognised to reduce pain, ease anxiety, combat inflammation and improve your response to stress.

Mom and Pop cottage industries could pop up overnight to sell the many products derived from hemp plants.

Government also needs to allow locals to grow a set number of marijuana plants for their own personal use, and fine people, not jail them, if they exceed the limit.

If CBD and marijuana are legalised it would prompt a lot of Cook Islanders to come back home, thereby erasing our labour shortage Not to mention how attractive it would be for tourist to visit our shores.

Right now, we allow four times convicted drunk drivers, riding on the wrong side of the road to escape jail time, while we imprison first time convicted marijuana users.

We need a change in our society.

There’s a long way to go before the next election. It could go the way of the 1990s elections, where for the first and only time, those elections weren’t won on a village level.

Candidates and their party were put under the microscope of an intense and relentless media and letter writing blitz, that resulted in a new Government.

Steven Boggs


Somewhere between

The mandatory 48-hour Covid test pre-departure is making it difficult for double jabbed New Zealanders living outside of Auckland and Wellington to consider holidaying in the Cook Islands, particularly if flying out from Auckland on Sundays.

My own experience is that I can only get my test done on Friday morning at my regional centre – they close Saturday and Sunday. From there take our tests to my local DHB, pay $160 per person to the laboratory there.

Collect the result from the laboratory after they have done their tests and then start emailing the various Cook Islands immigration authorities those negative results. 

If my flight is delayed by 1 hour, I’ll lose my ability to fly, and if it’s mandated to be 48 hours, then no health official is going to risk their job by permitting my family and I to travel, even if it’s 1 hour.

72 hours is too long, 48 hours is too short. Somewhere in between would work better for regional NZ.

Please consider.

Hanging out for Raro!

(Name and address supplied)