Drug use for medicinal purposes looked at

The use of certain drugs for medicinal purposes in controlled situations is one of the projects the Samoa Law Reform Commission is reviewing.

This was revealed in their Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2016, among other projects. 

This came after a ‘Term of Reference’ from the Attorney General in 2015 for the S.L.R.C to review drugs related legislation in Samoa to minimise drug related harm. 

According to the S.L.R.C annual report, this includes reviewing the statutory regime to control and regulate drugs (ie the Narcotics Act 1967). 

The S.L.R.C also looked into the classification of drugs. 

They also reviewed appropriate offences and penalties in terms of drug related offences. 

Another project they worked on was the reviewing of medicinal use of certain drugs in controlled situations. 

Furthermore the S.L.R.C was asked to conduct a review of the support and treatment services and rehabilitation facilities for drugs defendants and monitoring of offenders. 

“The Commission is currently undertaking preliminary research, analysis and consultation in preparation of an Issues Paper,” according to the annual report.  



The S.L.R.C Annual report indicates that a discussion paper on ‘Pule a le Matai Sa’o’ has been completed. 

The move came after the Term of Reference from Prime Minister to SLRC on 28 April 2015 “to consider legislative measures to address concerns about reported abuse of power by some Matai Sa’o (normally over decisions relating to matai titles and customary land).” 

According to the report, the Commission’s work on this project started in March 2016, resulting in a Discussion Paper which was submitted to Cabinet on 5 May 2016. There was also public consultations on this project in  October 2016.”  



Another project the SLRC was working on in FY16 was the discussion Paper on the Ministerial and Departmental Arrangements Act 2003. The aim of this project is to achieve consistency in general functions and powers of Chief Executive Officers. “The Commission is finalising the Discussion Paper,” says the annual report.  



The SLRC report also acknowledged the completion of the final Report on Draft Alcohol Control Bill. “This is a comprehensive review of alcohol related laws in Samoa with the objective of reducing harm caused by alcohol abuse. 

Key issues include liquor licensing and enforcement; alcohol taxation and pricing; availability of cheap liquor; advertising and promotion of alcohol; age restrictions; and responsibilities of village councils and others. 

It was approved by Cabinet on the 27 April 2016. “In addition the Commission submitted as part of its Final Report a draft Alcohol Control Bill reflecting its recommendations which was approved by Cabinet on 25 May 2016.” 



The SLRC annual report says that new court rules are expected to be developed reflecting recommendations in the final report on the review of Supreme Court Civil Procedure rules, and magistrate Court Civil Procedure Rules which is ongoing.

The Commission will consult with the AGO (Attorney General’s office), judiciary and members of the Law Society before finalising the report. New court rules are expected to be developed reflecting recommendations in the final report.” 



The SLRC also conducted public Consultations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  

“This review investigates the level of compliance of Samoa’s legislation with CEDAW and provides suggestions on how Samoa should meet its international obligations under this convention. 

“Following Cabinet approval of the Discussion Paper on 22 July 2015, the Commission held four Public Consultations in Upolu and Savaii in September and October 2015.

“These public consultations recorded the highest turnout by the public of any consultation the Commission has carried out. “This was partially attributed to assistance by MWCSD (Ministry of Women Community Social Development) informing Sui Tamaitai o Nuu and Sui o Nuu and distributing invitation letters.” 

A significant number of written submissions were also received on this project. The Final Report is being drafted and close to completion. 



There was also a review and discussion Papers on the Property Law Act 1952 review. Its ongoing and this project was referred to the Commission on 18 August 2014 by the Attorney General and involves reviewing the Property Law Act 1952 (Samoa) and the Property Law Act 2007 (NZ).

“Due to the sheer size and complexity of the reference and the lack of senior staff, this project was put on hold. Work resumed in April 2016 and currently the Commission is developing Discussion Papers (DP).” 

The annual report indicates that two DP have been drafted and include a review of Parts 1-3 of the Property Law Act 2007 (NZ) (on preliminary provisions, general rules relating to dispositions, instruments, transactions & property, and mortgages) and parts of the Property Law Act 1952 (Samoa).

“The DPs refer to specific provisions and make comments and recommendations concerning their suitability for inclusion in new property laws for Samoa, with any necessary modifications identified to make them applicable in the Samoan context.” The report also notes that discussion papers one/two are close to completion.

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