French Polynesian assembly approves medicinal cannabis law

11:38 am on 22 November 2022
Southern Medicinal cannabis crops

Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton

A local law approving the medicinal use of cannabis has been approved by the French Polynesian assembly.

The law also authorises the agricultural production of cannabis and hemp for industrial purposes, in particular pharmaceutical, within the framework of regulations under the International Narcotics Drugs convention.

Thirty-three government members voted for the law while the 20 opposition members abstained.

The territory government says the new law is a response to strong local demand for the legalisation of medical cannabis.

The opposition's Nicole Sanquer says there has been insufficient consultation, adding that the law's wording was such that it is likely to be quashed by French courts.

The law can be challenged in France though there has been no indication as yet that this may happen.

Sanquer has also questioned the timing of the law as territorial elections are due in a few months.

A survey last year showed that 93 percent of those questioned were in favour of allowing the medicinal use of cannabis.

Although illegal, cannabis is widely used in French Polynesia, and according to a survey about 20 percent of people aged 15 to 24 consume it daily.