Fiji’s hemp market is slowly starting to take off. As of this week, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the island country’s Minister for Economy, announced that Fiji will amend the Illicit Drugs Control Act 2004 and the Customs (Prohibited Import and Export) Regulations 1986 to launch the nation’s hemp industry, FBC News reports. He says industrial hemp is a lucrative and largely untapped resource in the global economy due to misconceptions about what it really is.
Under the new law, the THC percentage in hemp can not be greater than 1%. Sayed-Khaiyum says the government will be engaging with the United Nations office on drugs and crime to arrange for the Fiji National University and its Agriculture School to grow these industrial hemp seeds, which will be procured from Canada initially. Then, seeds will be distributed to local farmers.
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, stressed to Fijians that industrial hemp does not get you high, as the THC level is considerably lower. “Industrial hemp is not the same as marijuana as we call it in Fiji. It contains very low level of THC and wouldn’t make anyone high regardless of how much they consume. However, the trick to getting this right is to ensure that we only import and cultivate industrial hemp with THC levels below 1% that such our amendments will lead to that effect.”
The amendments to Fiji’s law will also make industrial hemp a conditional import item, meaning that hemp can be imported from other countries with the sole purpose of industrial use.
“Industrial hemp will only be allowed into the country for the purpose of cultivation and export once independent laboratory testing confirms the THC contents to be below 1%,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.
Sayed-Khaiyum says it’s interested in using hemp specifically for the fiber industry to manufacture rope, canvas, paper, clothing, and alternative textiles, while also looking into how hempcrete can be used in construction.
Fiji’s initiation into the industrial hemp market will ultimately signal the expansion of the global industrial hemp market. Columbia, China, Europe, and Canada are several countries currently leading the pack in the burgeoning industrial hemp industry.
According to Allied Market Research, the global industrial hemp market size was valued at $4.9 billion in 2019, and is projected to reach $18.6 billion by 2027.