A man has been asked by the Senate ad hoc select committee on illicit drugs and related crimes to prepare a project paper on the benefits of legalising a variety of Indian hemp for industrial use.
The committee said it would need relevant information to make a submission to the Government to legalise the particular variety of Indian hemp for industrial and commercial purposes.
Rup Singh, of Banaras, Lautoka, told the committee in Ba on Wednesday that the laws dealing with marijuana were draconian and unjust.
Mr Singh told the committee that hemp should be legalised for industrial purposes and the Government should license farmers.
“It is the grassroot industry and hemp is the best source of raw material ever known to mankind,” he said.
“The hemp industry will benefit the Fijian community because it would generate income for them and it is not a drug-related crop but an annual fibre crop.”
“The Government is losing out on thousands of untaxed dollars every day from marijuana sales and it should seriously look into the hemp industry.”
Mr Singh told the committee that the Government would be able to create employment by legalising hemp for industrial use, adding that it would replenish the treasury.
He said hemp could be used in the food, pharmaceutical, building and construction, textile, clothing and footwear and other industries.
Committee chairman Viliame Navoka said Mr Singh told the committee the hemp plant was a by-product for raw materials and several products could be made from it.
“There are 40 varieties of cannabis and only two of these are illicit while the other 38 are not, one of which is industrial hemp,” he said.
“The legislation says all cannabis plants are illegal.”
“We have to make a submission to the Government to legalise Indian hemp for industrial and commercial purposes.”
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