Medical cannabis isn’t just a life and death issue for some patients, it can be for suppliers in some parts of the world too – but for entirely different reasons.
Last week, Muhammad Lukman Bin Mohamad was reportedly sentenced to death by hanging by a Malaysian judge for possession of just over 3 litres of cannabis oil and 279 grams of compressed cannabis. He was originally arrested in 2015.
In Malaysia, individuals arrested in possession of 200 grams of marijuana or more are considered to be drug traffickers, which carries a mandatory death penalty. Penalties for smaller amounts can be physical punishment (caning) or jail time of up to 10 years.
Mr. Lukman’s defense and supporters insist he is no trafficker, but doing good.
“The cannabis oils were intended to treat diseases and not to get high or any criminal activities as claimed by the prosecutor. For those who were too poor to pay, Lukman provided them with free cannabis oil,” says part of a statement attributed to Malaysian Awareness Society (MASA)
Even given the gravity of the situation and circumstances, Mr. Lukman harbors no ill will to the judge who sentenced him and is still optimistic regarding the final outcome.
“This is not the fault of the judge, he only performed his task in accordance with the written law. It’s clear that he was unaware about the truth (medical marijuana). I believe this is not the final verdict. If it is, Malaysia laws are cruel.”
Another high profile case is that of Amiruddin @ Nadarajan Abdullah, who also faces the death penalty for supplying medical cannabis products to Malaysian patients.
Malaysia Awareness Society (MASA) is advocating on behalf of both men, who are also supported by a number of patients who have found relief through using cannabis products supplied to them.
MASA was started by a group of doctors, lawyers, scientists, activists, parents and patients that are imploring the government of Malaysia to commence clinical research using medical cannabis.
To date, 7,916 people have signed a petition started by the group calling for the Malaysian Government to re-examine cannabis and allow local research, education and medication. It also calls for the death penalty to be abolished and the Dangerous Drugs Act be reviewed, recognising medical cannabis for its therapeutic properties.