Malaysia enters race to become first country in Asia to legalize cannabis for medical purposes
In South East Asia, the state of Malaysia is renowned for its zero tolerance towards drug trafficking. Its laws are the most restrictive in the world, possession of cannabis can lead to the death penalty ... But the country now seems to be back in the race, to become the first in Asia to legalize cannabis for medical purposes.
Malaysia talking about it
The government began talks last week on cannabis. This in order to determine the value of the 'biological drug', as so named by the ministry… As part of this discussion, Malaysia could amend the current laws. These impose long prison sentences and even the death penalty.
The Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources, Xavier Jayakumar, declares to Bloomberg that the Cabinet had spoken "very briefly" on the issue last week, citing examples of legislation in Western countries.
“This has already been done in some countries, and in some states in America,” says Xavier. “If you use it medicinally, you can use it. Not for social purposes, but medicinal. "
Malaysian public debate
The public debate over cannabis took place following the death sentence of a 29-year-old father, Muhammad Lukman. The man was caught in the act of distributing cannabis oil, mainly for cancer patients… Under the Drug Act 1952, people caught in possession of 200 grams or more of cannabis can be indicted for drug trafficking, which carries the mandatory death penalty ...
The recent conviction and sentencing also prompted Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to call for a review of existing drug laws. Other lawmakers, like Nurul Izzah Anwar, had promised to seek pardon for the condemned man.
If the law in Malaysia really changes, it will become the first country in Asia to approve medical cannabis - provided Thailand, expressing a similar desire, does not precede it early next year.