VANUATU POLICE COMBAT RISE IN MARIJUANA USE

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By Hilaire Bule - Vanuatu Independent

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Port Villa Presse, Nov. 1) - An important presentation during this year's Law Week in Vanuatu concerned cannabis [marijuana] and was presented by the drug squad of Vanuatu Police Force.

The police took the advantage to talk on cannabis as part of their awareness program and following the arrest of 20 suspects from South Malekula last week.

Law Week was told by the police that the increase in cannabis cultivation and smoking is alarming and there is a need for everyone to cooperate to combat it.

"Vanuatu is lucky, yet, because at this stage we haven't come across a case of hard drug consumption like cocaine or opium but with the current trend there is a risk," say drug squad personnel.

The police also confirm that at the moment, 51 suspects, not including the 20 from South West Malekula, are awaiting court hearing.

The presentation was followed by questions, comments and debate.

Most of participants strongly condemned the introduction of the plant into the country.

They were all agreed that the police force itself has insufficient manpower to fight drug cultivation and dealing.

The participants asked the police to show a live cannabis plant to help the public to identify it because the majority of the people in Vanuatu do not know what it is and how it appears.

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