Vanuatu wants to produce medical cannabis and industrial hemp

The island nation of Vanuatu is attracting foreign investors and entrepreneurs to grow and export medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp. The government recently finalized its cannabis regulations, paving the way for interested parties to apply for licenses to enter Vanuatu’s growing cannabis market.

To obtain a ten-year license, companies must have at least 10 years of experience growing cannabis and pay a fee of 10 million Vatu (80.000 euros). The government plans to issue five licenses, two for the production of medicinal cannabis and three for the production of hemp. While industrial hemp production will be confined to five specific islands: Efate, Santo, Malekula, Tanna, and Erromango, medical cannabis will be limited to the islands of Efate, Santo, and Malekula.

Vanuatu passed the Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Act in 2021, but specific regulations have only recently been established. According to Moses Amos, chairman of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp, the ten-year licensing structure is designed to ensure that high standards of production are maintained and that Vanuatu workers gain experience in the industry. “The scenario would be that after 10 years of working with a foreign investor, any Vanuatu citizen would be able to dedicate himself to this activity”, explained Amos.

Regulations govern the entire cannabis and hemp supply chain, from seed imports to cultivation, production, manufacture and export. With a population of approximately 320.000, Vanuatu is an archipelago nation in the South Pacific Ocean, made up of around 80 islands spanning 1.300 kilometres. Its economy is mainly agricultural, with 80% of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture and small trade in copra, coconuts, wood, beef, cocoa, and other subsistence crops.


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