Former President Urges New Scheme on Tahiti
Former President Oscar Temaru Claims Cannabis Should Be Legalised On Tahiti
The French paradise island of Tahiti could be set to legalise cannabis - so that jobless youngsters can earn money selling it to tourists.
The controversial scheme is aimed at reducing soaring unemployment in France's overseas territory of French Polynesia.
Former president Oscar Temaru said offering the drug to European holidaymakers could create jobs and bring in tens of millions of pounds a year in revenue.
Tahiti is the main island in the South Pacific island group, whose foreign affairs, defence and legal system are all governed from Paris.
But the island's lawmakers do have the power to change drug legislation without the permission of the French government.
French Polynesia attracts around 190,000 tourists a year, including an estimated 10,000 from Britain.
Mr Temaru said: 'Foreigners often arrive at out hotels and ask for cannabis.
'We know there there are countries in Europe that have legalised it, like Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.
Selling cannabis ( L ) could bring revenue from tourists visiting Tahiti, according to former President of the island, Oscar Temaru
'So doing the same thing here could be a way of creating jobs for young people, by allowing them to sell it to foreigners,' he told the local TNTV television station.
Cannabis plants thrive in French Polynesia's balmy tropical climate, where the drug is known locally as pakalolo.
Mr Temaru, who has been president three times in the past four years, said he is drafting a bill to put before the territory's MPs later this year.
Police said they seize around 80 million pounds worth of the drug every year, but believe that only represents a 'small fraction' of the true size of the cannabis black market.
January 26, 2010
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'Sell cannabis to tourists to solve unemployment': Former president urges new scheme