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Drug trade on island

Nanise Loanakadavu
Friday, February 14, 2014

THE cultivating of marijuana on Kadavu cannot be stopped because the elderly, village headmen and youths are directly involved in this illegal activity.

This is the sentiment of roko tui Kadavu Eroni Vunisa who said the harvesting of the drug was at its peak, generating thousands of dollars in just three months.

Mr Vunisa said following the police raid in 2012, the farmers did not stop planting marijuana because the trade involved a lot of money.

He said they could only conduct awareness programs with the police on the laws relating to this crime.

"We can't do much because people need to survive," Mr Vunisa said in an interview on Kadavu early this week.

"While we don't want to encourage the people, we are diverting the attention of youths by conducting community capacity-building to empower them to get involved in other agricultural opportunities."

Mr Vunisa said farmers could afford fibreglass boats with 75 horse-power engines and speed boats because of the money generated from marijuana.

"We have identified hotspots on the eastern side of the island because of its geographical location close to Suva."

He said marijuana was also sold in open waters on this side of the island.

Mr Vunisa said yaqona takes six years to mature and dalo takes six months but marijuana takes only three months.

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