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Tag: malaysia

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Malaysia To Decide On Medical Cannabis Reform By End Of Year

As we previously reported, government officials from Malaysia met with their counterparts from Thailand this week with the goal of determining what Malaysia can learn from Thailand’s current cannabis policies and the efforts to get Thailand’s policies to where they are at now.

Historically, the region that Thailand and Malaysia are located in is where some of the harshest cannabis laws on earth could be found, and in the case of Malaysia, can still be found. Malaysia is one of a handful of countries around the world, most of them located in the same region, that still issues the death penalty for cannabis-only offenses.

Malaysia is currently exploring ways that it can improve its cannabis laws for medical cannabis patients, and coming off of the heals of the recent meeting between Malaysia and Thailand dedicated to the topic of medical cannabis, Malaysia’s Health Minister has indicated that the country will decide on medical cannabis by the end of the year. Per The Star:

The government will take a stand on the use of cannabis for medical purposes before the end of the year, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Khairy who concluded a bilateral working visit to Bangkok, on Thursday (Aug 25) said Thailand had shared a lot of views and experiences during his visit on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and its cultivation.

“I am confident that we will be able to study Thailand’s experience to adapt it to the Malaysian context later when we will decide whether or not to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

The effort in Malaysia is far from guaranteed to succeed, and even if something is eventually adopted, it will likely be a far cry compared to robust medical cannabis programs found in other countries in North America and Europe.

Still, it is very encouraging to see neighboring countries take notice of the shift in cannabis policy in Thailand, and for them to be seeking out advice from the regional cannabis leader. Hopefully more countries in the region follow suit.

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Malaysia flag

Malaysia To Learn About Thailand’s Cannabis Policies In Upcoming Meeting

Malaysia is home to some of the worst cannabis policies on the entire planet. To hammer home that point, consider the fact that people can still receive the death penalty for cannabis-only offenses in Malaysia.

Someone getting caught in possession of more than 200 grams of cannabis in Malaysia automatically yields the death penalty, even in cases which the person caught with the cannabis is using it for medical purposes.

Two hundred grams may seem like a lot of cannabis for one person to possess, however, that’s not an uncommon amount for someone that is using cannabis for medical purposes. In order to make strong edibles, which is a common consumption method for patients, recipes can call for well over 200 grams of raw cannabis.

Fortunately for medical cannabis patients, Malaysia seems to at least be exploring the idea of reforming its cannabis laws to allow some form of medical use. Medical cannabis efforts will get a boost next week when officials from Malaysia and Thailand meet. Per Reuters:

Malaysia plans to learn from the cannabis policy of neighbouring Thailand in its effort to legalise use of the drug for medical purposes, a health ministry official said on Wednesday, in a country where possession can bring the death penalty now.

The comments came after the Thai health minister said he would meet his Malaysian counterpart during a meeting of APEC health ministers next week where Thailand will showcase its work in legalising medicinal marijuana.

Suffering patients exist in every country on the planet, including in Malaysia. Patients everywhere deserve to have safe access to effective medicines in Malaysia and everywhere else, and that includes medical cannabis.

Hopefully the upcoming meeting involving health officials from Malaysia and Thailand will be constructive and yield results throughout the region. After all, Malaysia is not the only country in the region with horrific cannabis laws.

malaysia, Thailand

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Malaysia Senator Calls For Urgent Medical Cannabis Reform

Malaysia is one of the harshest places on earth when it comes to cannabis policy. For example, anyone caught with over 200 grams of cannabis in Malaysia faces a mandatory death sentence if convicted.

That is the potential sentence that famed Malaysian singer Yasin Sulaiman is currently facing after authorities allegedly found 214 grams of cannabis and 17 plants near his home.

As we previously reported, Malaysia is pursuing medical cannabis reform in an extremely slow fashion. Malaysia’s Health Minister recently indicated a willingness to team up with cannabis researchers, however, people question how sincere he really is.

A member of Malaysia’s Senate spoke out recently about the need for Malaysia to embrace medical cannabis. Per The Star:

Malaysia should play a serious role and take progressive actions to allow the use of cannabis and hemp, especially cannabidiol (CBD) for medical purposes, said Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi.

The Senate member representing persons with disabilities (OKU), said the usage of the substances is to increase access to quality health services for their well-being.

“It is in line with Strategic Thrust 4 of the Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities (OKU) 2016-2022, which is to increase access to quality health services for their well-being,” she said in a statement.

Medical cannabis reform obviously faces an uphill battle in Malaysia, and for that matter, most of the region. Neighboring countries Indonesia and Singapore also have very harsh cannabis laws.

One bright spot in the region is Thailand, which shares a border with Malaysia. Thailand is going to allow any household in the country to sign up to cultivate low-THC cannabis this June, and once that happens, I am hopeful that it convinces lawmakers in the region to soften their stances toward cannabis reform.

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Research science labratory lab

Malaysia’s Health Minister Is In Need Of Cannabis Research Partners

Despite what cannabis opponents and some skeptics may claim, the cannabis plant has been the subject of considerable scientific study. To be fair, the cannabis plant was not studied as much as it should have been in some parts of the world due to prohibition, such as in the United States. However, there’s still a considerable number of global studies already on the books.

PubMed.gov houses an enormous amount of peer-reviewed research on all types of topics, including cannabis. For example, a search for the word ‘cannabis’ in the database yields 28,160 results for peer-reviewed studies, as seen in the image below:

Pubmed cannabis

A search for the term ‘marijuana’ returns even more results – 39,928 as of this article’s posting. A search for ‘CBD’ returns 9,505 results. More research regarding cannabis and cannabinoids is always welcomed, however, it’s always worth noting that there is already a tremendous amount of research in existence, especially in recent years.

With all of that in mind, it’s always perplexing to me when lawmakers and other government officials in some countries continue to use the ‘we need more research’ as a footdragging excuse to refrain from pursuing meaningful medical cannabis reform.

A recent example of that seems to be potentially on display in Malaysia where the nation’s Minister of Health is pointing to the lack of research being conducted specifically in his country and the need for research partnerships. Below is more about it via excerpts from an article posted by The Rakyat Post:

The Health Ministry is ready to collaborate with any parties to study the usage of marijuana and cannabis in medicine. Its minister Khairy Jamalauddin Abu Bakar said that while there is a lot of advocacy of late on the medicinal use of marijuana, the fact remains that there have been no full submissions for a clinical study or trial on the subject.

“@KKMPutrajaya (MOH) welcomes industry or academia initiated research for the medicinal use of CBD (cannabidiol). We are ready to collaborate,” tweets Khairy.

The Rembau MP also added that MOH has been consistent in practicing evidence-based policies. “That’s why we have welcomed clinical studies for the use of CBD for medicinal purposes.”

To be clear, when the minister indicates that ‘there have been no full submissions for a clinical study or trial on the subject, he is obviously referring only to studies and trials in his home country, as there is plenty of readily-available research from other countries.

Quality cannabis researchers need to take the minister up on his offer. In a perfect world, Malaysia would get on the right side of history immediately and recognize the body of scientific research and personal patient experiences that already exists.

However, if the minister wants more research and the government of Malaysia is actually willing to work in good faith to help in meaningful ways to facilitate cannabis research, then by all means scientists and companies should pounce on the opportunity.

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Malaysia flag

Malaysia Memorandum On Medical Cannabis And Hemp Expected Next Week

Malaysia is one of a handful of countries where someone can receive the death penalty for a cannabis-only offense. People caught selling cannabis in Malaysia, in any amount, can be subjected to the penalty, including Amiruddin Nadarajan Abdullah aka ‘Dr Ganja.’

Dr Ganja is currently facing the death penalty in Malaysia for reportedly selling ‘chocolate bars and brownie edibles made with hemp seed oil.’ He entered a not guilty plea earlier this year for the 36 charges that he is facing.

Even personal possession involving less than an ounce can yield a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and/or corporal punishment. Needless to say, Malaysia is in desperate need of cannabis reform.

With the exception of Thailand, the region where Malaysia is located is known for moving extremely slow when it comes to reforming cannabis laws. Fortunately, a small but significant step is expected next week in Malaysia. Per The Malaysian Insight:

A MEMORANDUM based on the findings of a public forum entitled Sustainable Future of Medical Cannabis, Industrial Hemp and Kratom (Ketum) Industry is expected to be handed over to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob by next week.

Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin said the move is to enable the crops to be used in the medical industry and exported.

Exactly what the memorandum will contain appears to be unknown at this time, however, it’s likely to include recommendations for a very strict and tightly-regulated medical cannabis industry. It will be very interesting to see if any timelines are included.

At the very least, Malaysia should legalize hemp production being that hemp can’t be used to induce intoxication. However, such a move would clearly not be enough.

Every suffering patient in Malaysia deserves safe access, just as every suffering patient deserves safe access everywhere else around the globe.

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