Border authorities undecided on medicinal marijuana
The position of Samoa’s border authorities on the movement of medical marijuana into the country remains undecided.
The Minister for Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, is of the view international travelers can bring in medical marijuana, but with an accompanying medical card and report.
Tialavea’s Ministry has oversight over the work of Customs.
But the Assistant Chief Immigration Officer, Siaopo Pese, told Samoa Observer he has reservations with the proposition and a better plan should be developed.
“We have to come up with a better plan than this. Anyone can provide a doctor’s note, indicating they are on medicinal marijuana. We already have a drug problem in Samoa, this will open another door and I will not have it,” he said during a previous interview.
If an ailing person requires medical marijuana then the Government should facilitate it, added the Minister, as the drug is used to assist patients suffering from chronic pain, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma and other medical conditions.
“So long as they provide a medical card and perhaps a medical report, the Government should entertain the idea.
“Why can’t Samoa allow the traveler and his medical marijuana…I think so long as they have an authorized medical card prescribed by the doctor, that is sufficient enough for boarder authorities. It is only logic to allow this,” he said.
But Siaopo cautioned against the use of medical cards and said travelers should be subject to strict procedures, aside from possessing and showing a certificate authorizing him or her to carry drugs from their home country.
“There should be guidelines to follow and with it should be approved by all interested parties, in order for us to entertain the request for the travelling population, who have this special need. Any doctor can issue a medical card, that is my biggest concern,” he added.
Siaopo said the matter was discussed during a meeting with the Attorney General, Commissioner of Police and Ministry of Health’s Acting Director General.
Comment has been sought from the Attorney General Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, and Acting Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri.