Malaysians who are hoping to get legal access to medical cannabis shouldn’t hold their breath. Because from the way the health ministry views cannabis, it looks like legalization will not be happening in the near future.
The Malaysian health ministry maintains its position that cannabis is a harmful drug. It also stressed out that there has been no substantial scientific evidence that cannabis oil has any medicinal value.
According to Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad, the Dangerous Drug Act has classified cannabis oil as a harmful drug and people who have been caught dealing or in possession of cannabis products are going to be subjected to severe penalties.
Ahmad said that there is a provision under Malaysian law for cannabis oil to be used for research purposes, but that he will have to endorse it first.
Calls to legalize medical cannabis in Malaysia
The government is facing calls to legalize the use of cannabis for purposes of medical treatment after a man was sentenced to death for possessing, processing, and distributing cannabis products for medical use.
Muhammad Lukman is a 29-year-old father of one who, in December 2015, was caught in possession of 3.1 liters of cannabis oil, 279 grams of compressed cannabis, and 1.4 kilograms of a substance that contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive component of cannabis or the chemical ingredient that gives users a high.
The Shah Alam High Court gave Lukman the death sentence on Aug 30.
Lukman’s case has caused a public outcry. It also caught the attention of Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir, who said that it should be reviewed by the government.
Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah is seeking a pardon for Lukman and is pushing to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
The health minister said that proposed changes to the law should be referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
He confirmed that there have been discussions in the cabinet to legalize the drug for treatment, yet no decision has been reached yet.