RAROTONGA (RNZ PACIFIC) — The Cook Islands government is looking at how the new legislation on medicinal cannabis will work in practice.

A paper is being prepared for cabinet approval, Secretary of Health Bob Willliams said.

His team will be guided by the Prime Minister’s office to develop the work.

“Ultimately that will be the main issue, to avoid people cultivating their own cannabis for issues that may have an impact on narcotic laws that we have in the country,” he said.

“So I guess the policy will look around the approval process by health professionals and identify how many people around the country require that form of medicine.”

More than 60 percent of voters ticked yes to the referendum question: ‘Should we review our cannabis laws to allow for research and medicinal use?’

“For me as the Secretary of Health it will just be medicine use not for recreational use and that will be only for residents. I am not sure that we will be extending that to anyone outside of the Cook Islands.”

The Cook Islands Health Secretary’s chief pharmacist has been tasked with looking into medicinal cannabis pharmaceuticals used in New Zealand and Australia.

“We also looking what is available in New Zealand or Australia, what has been approved for medical use and whether we can have access to those medical medicines within New Zealand or Australia.”

Prime Minister Mark Brown said the overwhelming favourable response to the cannabis referendum will allow the Government to move quickly in legalising medicinal cannabis and opening up further research…. PACNEWS

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