Former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi speaks at the “Medical Cannabis: Facts and Benefits” forum in Petaling Jaya on June 24, 2022. – Photo by Ahmad Zamzahuri
By R. Loheswar
Friday, June 24, 2022 3:58 PM MYT
KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 – The government could now offer exemptions for medical marijuana in the country without going through the arduous task of legislating new laws or provisions for this purpose, said former court president Tun Zaki Azmi.
Calling on the government today to swiftly legalize medical marijuana in Malaysia or at least give an immediate exemption for cannabidiol imports, Zaki said the same Dangerous Drugs Prohibiting Narcotics Act as marijuana also authorizes the minister to grant exemptions for restricted use.
He said this meant that the government could react quickly to advances in the area where countries such as Thailand and China were already building a lead in the marijuana (cannabis) industry.
Speaking at a forum entitled “Medical Cannabis: Facts and Benefits,” Zaki said it was unfortunate that the government, especially health officials, continued to hold conservative and prejudiced views on marijuana.
“For me, if it benefits one, two or three percent of the population, the government should allow it, especially when regular doctors can prescribe stronger drugs such as morphine and codeine.
“We are not here to politicize things. but why talk about going to Parliament to amend laws when they already exist, provisions to use them for specific purposes, ”he lamented, arguing that the government should at least allow the import of cannabidiol (CBD) immediately.
CBD is the extract of the marijuana plant that is used for medical purposes, which differs from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or the compound responsible for the psychoactive properties of the plant.
Earlier this month, Thailand decriminalized marijuana in the country and the industry has aroused the interest of large and small businesses, attracting more than 1.2 billion baht (RM 154.2 million) of investment, already which seek to take advantage of the legalized cultivation and use of marijuana. plants.
Marijuana and hemp were removed from the list of Category 5 narcotics according to the Thai Food and Drug Administration. To operate a legal marijuana-related business in the country, producers can only register through the Pluk Kan mobile app.
The global trend toward legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana has opened it up to more medical research on CBD as a treatment for pain and inflammation, stimulating appetite for chemotherapy patients and for muscle spasms and seizures.
During today’s forum, advocates of CBD oils shared anecdotes of its benefits as a medical treatment.
One of them, Razak Kamil, shared a short video of his epileptic son ingesting CBD oil through his nose to prevent a seizure.
In the video, the 13-year-old appeared to be in the early stages of a seizure that was stopped 20 seconds after Razak administered the CBD spray.
Despite his demonstrable effectiveness in controlling his son’s epilepsy, Razak said he could not legally acquire CBD in Malaysia due to the continued ban on marijuana and all its related compounds.
“This is just a case, there are many more who have benefited from this, but we are denying them the right to good health,” Zaki said in a comment.
“I would like to try CBD as well as I am suffering from peripheral neuropathy in my nerves and my legs are always asleep.”
The former chief judge said it would be preferable to use CBD as a substitute for the prescription drug, as the latter had side effects such as constipation that impaired quality of life.
“Apart from my arthritis, I’m 77 years old, I’m not young and as you get older all your joints start to hurt, so if I take morphine it makes me very, very high, so why can’t I take CBD?
So please (Director General of Health) Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, Minister of Health (Khairy Jamaluddin), please open up, be more liberal, help me help others and end the our suffering, “he said.
Despite initial talks in this direction, CBD is still illegal in Malaysia and is not legally distinguishable from marijuana.
Last November, Khairy told Parliament that medical marijuana products could be registered in Malaysia as long as they could obtain local regulatory approval.
In May this year, Deputy Minister of Health Datuk Dr. Noor Azmi Ghazali said Malaysia was open to trials for the medical use of marijuana, but only after the necessary legal amendments had been made.
In 2018, a local medical marijuana advocate was sentenced to death for possessing, processing and distributing medical marijuana (CBD oil) before the then government intervened and imposed a moratorium on its execution.