The use of cannabis legally has been a grassroots debate that gradually reached up into the echelons of Parliament. For many years, Malaysians and foreigners alike have always been led to assume that any and all use of cannabis is outlawed by the country, and is punishable by death. And while the recreational use of cannabis still remains a grassroots movement lobbied by activists, the medical use of cannabis is actually… legal, in Malaysia.
Cannabis use is legal. Medically, that is.
And it has been that way for quite some time now, reminds Health Minister Datuk Khairy Jamaluddin. This comes after Muar MP Syed Saddiq had posed a question concerning the Ministry of Health’s position on cannabis use in Malaysia, to which the Health Minister responded with a landmark written Parliamentary reply that has caught many Malaysians by surprise.
Essentially, he has brought up the fact that local laws in Malaysia, namely the Sale of Drugs Act 1952, Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, and the Poisons Act 1952, do not actually prohibit the use of cannabis locally. In which case, cannabis use in the medical context is actually legal in Malaysia, provided that the products comply with the necessary legal requirements as stipulated in Malaysian law.
What are the legal conditions that one has to meet?
The conditions include:
- The product has been approved for sale and distribution by the Drug Control Authorities as per the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984 under the provisions of Sale of Drugs Act 1952.
- The import of medical cannabis products is conducted by a licensed importer with the required permissions to import medical cannabis products under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984, Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, and the Poisons Act 1952.
- The wholesale distribution of the medical cannabis products is conducted by a licensed wholesaler under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984, Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, and the Poisons Act 1952.
- The retail sale and supply of medical cannabis products for medicinal purposes to treat certain patients is sold through a medical practitioner registered under the Medical Act 1971 to their patients, or through registered pharmacists with a license under Category A, to patients who have received a prescription from a registered medical practitioner for their condition.
This is on top of the need for the cannabis product to be evaluated and registered via the local Drug Control Authority (DCA) as prescribed by the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984. In order to gain approval, the necessary parties must first have adequate scientific evidence to prove the efficacy, safety, and quality of their products.
Which is to say that while cannabis use in the medical context is legal, recreational use of the drug remains outlawed in Malaysia and remains as a prosecutable offense. It is worth noting that during the previous administration, the legalisation of cannabis use was among one of the hotbed issues that was said to have been discussed, as reported by The Star.
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