The Republic of Vanuatu has become the latest nation to legalize medical cannabis, Benzinga reports.

The nation of about 80 small Pacific islands will allow for the cultivation, production, and consumption of medical cannabis products but, for Vanuatu’s 277,000 inhabitants, personal cannabis cultivation and the smoking of cannabis products will, for now, remain illegal.

“I am delighted to see the legalization of medical cannabis in Vanuatu and believe we are one step closer to treating the epidemic of diabetes within our nation and many of our neighboring Pacific countries.” — Dr. Santus Wari, Acting Director of the Department of Curative & Hospital Services at Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health, via Benzinga

The legislation will be officially presented to the country’s parliament later this year and experts predict the licensing process will be underway by December.

Already, Vanuatu officials have secured a partnership with U.S. company Phoenix Life Sciences International to produce a cannabis-based diabetes medication, which will help treat the 13 percent of Vanuatuans who suffer from the condition.

In a statement, Phoenix Life said it would “bring its line of all-natural, effective medication to the nation through its national health care system,” and that it is “working with internationally recognized doctors and researchers to develop several innovative pipelines of medicinal cannabis products.”

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