Indonesian Mom's Appeal Leads Country's Lawmakers to Consider Medical Weed


The House of Representatives (DPR) drew attention to a comprehensive assessment regarding the medical use of cannabis in Indonesia

Indonesian lawmakers will discuss a plan to legalize medical marijuana, after a mother's plea for her child's treatment went viral online. Lawmakers will study the plan with the Health Ministry, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said in a statement on Tuesday. Any change would be made by revising the Narcotics Act, which prohibits the use of cannabis except for certain research purposes.

Santi Warastuti became viral for joining Jakarta's crowded car-free day on Sunday, while bringing a sign that read, "Help, my child needs medical marijuana." Her child has cerebral palsy. Dasco met with Warastuti in Jakarta on Tuesday and pledged to raise the issue with lawmakers who are deliberating the law.

Neighboring Southeast Asian countries have begun to ease restrictions on cannabis use. Thailand has legalized consumption in June, while Malaysia has authorized the use cannabis for medical purposes last year. Indonesia has strict laws against the use and distribution of controlled substances, including marijuana, with a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison.

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A full study and the participation of all parties is needed to decide whether medical cannabis can be applied in Indonesia. Ahmad realized that the public had high aspirations for the use of cannabis for medical purposes, particularly by referring to global developments in the use of cannabis as medicine. However, he noted that Indonesian law has not allowed the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

"We need to study and coordinate with relevant parties, including the National Narcotics Agency and the Ministry of Health, because we don't know what the classification of medical cannabis is."

If cannabis is wrongly chosen for medicine, it will have a negative impact on medical treatment, he said. However, he assured that the DPR will coordinate with the government to meet public aspirations regarding the use of cannabis as medicine.

DPR seeks public input on the medical use of cannabis

So far, one study has shown that the health and economic benefits are extraordinary while the downsides are small. The House of Representatives (DPR) will seek the opinion of the population on a proposal to authorize the use of cannabis for medical purposes before revising the law on narcotics.

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“We will first look at the pros and cons (of medicinal cannabis). So far, one study has shown that the health and economic benefits are extraordinary while the harms are small,” DPR Commission III Vice Chairman Desmond J. Mahesa said Tuesday.

Ahmad said he was aware that people have high aspirations for the medical use of cannabis, especially in reference to global developments on the issue.

Therefore, Commission III will hold a hearing on Thursday (June 30, 2022) to seek public input on the use of cannabis for medical purposes, he informed. During the hearing, Commission III will also hear the opinion of health experts to see if the use of cannabis for medical purposes is dangerous from a health point of view, he said.

The Netherlands and Thailand have legalized the medical use of cannabis. Therefore, the health and economic benefits of cannabis will be the focus of the DPR's Commission III notes on the review of the Narcotic Drugs Act.

In the Southeast Asian region, only Laos and Thailand have joined 30 countries in the world in legalizing the use of cannabis as medicine.

Tags : AsiaLawSEARCH

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