26 Jul 2005

Fiji government rules out industrial hemp industry

7:30 pm on 26 July 2005

The Fiji government has ruled out growing industrial hemp as an alternative to the ailing sugar industry.

The Fiji Times reports that the agriculture minister, Ilaitia Tuisese's clarification came as a ministerial delegation toured Fiji's western cane belt to promote the Asian Development Bank-funded alternative livelihood project.

Mr Tuisese said if people could abuse marijuana and commit all sorts of crimes as well as end up needing psychiatric treatment, there was not need to think about industrial hemp.

He said people's lives at risk and the government does not want to make the mistake of legalising industrial hemp.

Mr Tuisese said agriculture officials had visited villages growing marijuana to earn money and encouraged them to grow alternative crops like vanilla.