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Tonga Cabinet rejected hemp cultivation

Tonga's Cabinet has changed its mind and rejected a proposal from “the Brown Group” to cultivate hemp in Tonga, the Prime Minister's Office announced this afternoon.

The statement said, “The Cabinet on the 30 October 2019 rescinded its decision of 17 October 2019.”

However, the decision of 17 October was not revealed.

The press office at the Prime Minister's Office was unable to release any information about the Brown Group or to explain the decision that was rescinded.

Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is an illicit plant in Tonga.

The  media statement from the PMO said that the final decision was reached after Cabinet received a report from its Cabinet Sub-Committee that was set up to look into the issue.

“The report submitted by the Cabinet Sub-Committee reiterated that hemp is an illicit substance and it is banned by law, in Tonga.

“The Committee also noted the high risk that the current drug related problems will escalate if the project is allowed. The Cabinet fully endorsed the Sub-Committee’s findings.

“The Cabinet would like to reassure the people of Tonga that it has rejected the business proposal from the Brown Group on 30 October 2019.”

The media statement also claimed that public consultation had been undertaken, but did not explain how.

“As a result of this decision, the Government ended further involvement in any public consultation on this issue,” the statement said.


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