Vanuatu set to enter global cannabis market after passing cultivation, export laws – but some remain sceptical

ABC New Australia reports

Vanuatu has become one of the first Pacific countries to allow businesses to grow medicinal cannabis and hemp, after signing into law policies governing the import, cultivation and manufacture of the plant.

It paves the way for the country to enter the global cannabis market, with some hoping the plant can become a major cash-crop for local communities.

The government has made at least five 10-year licenses available for businesses to purchase – two for growing medicinal cannabis and three for hemp production – for 10 million Vatu each ($123,000).

Businesses are also expected to pay an additional 10 million Vatu every year as a license renewal fee.

Medicinal cannabis is most often used to relieve chronic pain and has also been used to treat anxiety, cancer-related symptoms, epilepsy, insomnia and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Hemp typically has less of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol, and can be used in products including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel.

The director-general of Vanuatu’s Agricultural Department, Moses Amos, told local broadcaster VBTC the policies aimed to encourage foreign investment in the country.

“The government is especially focused on alternative resources that we can use, and one of them is industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis,” he said.

“It’s a potential resource that we can use and develop to become a potential export commodity for us, and at the same time bring a little money into the country.”


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