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Medicinal cannabis could yield $235m

Fiji could earn around $235 million by exporting products made from medicinal cannibis.

Highlighting this during a media session yesterday, ANZ Pacific Economist, Dr Kishti Sen said the Australian State of Victoria currently produces 73,000 litres of cannabis oil and 24,000 kilograms of dried leaf and flower per year and Fiji would yield around the estimated figure if it produced 50 per cent of what Victoria produces.

Dr Sen said there is a need for Fiji to diversify its portfolios’ to offset the downturns in the tourism market – Medicinal cannabis has the potential, but the export market is competitive.

He said medicinal cannabis is becoming more mainstream.

“Fiji will need to identify its unique product offering. Cultivation that is organic and production that minimises environmental impacts, carbon emissions and waste might appeal to buyers in the overseas markets.”

Dr Sen said if Fiji were able to march Victoria’s capacity, revenue could reach $454 million per year.

He said this would take a few years to pass legislation, bring in the needed investment, get operations running and at the same time find the markets to export to and added that this would make medicinal cannabis its top merchandise export, ahead of mineral water, which contributed $362 million in export receipts in 2022, accounting for 16 per cent of total goods exports.

Cabinet has endorsed the formation of a taskforce that will develop the feasibility study, propose amendments to existing legislation and conduct nationwide consultation on medicinal marijuana.

Minister for Trade, Manoa Kamikamica said the establishment of a medicinal cannabis industry in Fiji is limited to exportation only and will not affect the domestic prohibition or legality of cannabis cultivation, distribution and abuse in Fiji.

Kamikamica further stated that the intention is to allow reputable existing operators to build a ring-fenced confined extraction and manufacturing facility in Fiji to facilitate the process of ensuring Fiji can deliver value-add medicinal products for export only.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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