The Cabinet had no qualms, according to deputy communications and multimedia minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin, about proceeding with obtaining authorisation for the planting procedure of hemp and ketum.
The parliamentary committee on medicinal cannabis announced earlier this month that policy problems relating to the growth of the hemp, cannabis, and ketum industries would be raised in the Cabinet following a meeting. Zahidi authorised his ministry to consult with health minister Khairy Jamaluddin prior to this.
“This is a fantastic development, particularly for individuals in the medical industry.”
“However, I would like to emphasise that any approval is for therapeutic purposes only, not for recreational use,” he said, according to Utusan Malaysia.
Zahidi also noted that there was a strong market for hemp and ketum in other countries because of their medicinal properties, and he was positive the Cabinet would approve their medical usage here soon.
The meeting, which would include Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, noted that the industry had grown significantly in numerous countries and was now worth up to RM60 billion.
Ismail was claimed to have given a favourable reaction to the policy issues addressed, which included persons facing court charges as well as those found guilty of using cannabis for medicinal purposes.
This soothed nationwide concerns, as many netizens probed for action to be taken towards those currently incarcerated for related crimes such as Dr. Ganja @ Amiruddin Nadarajan Abdullah, a military retiree who ailed his illness as well as helped others through bouts of epilepsy and leukemia by using cannabis, and Nasyid singer Yasin Sulaiman.
Khairy previously stated that his ministry was willing to work with industry or university to explore marijuana’s therapeutic uses. Earlier this month, he stated that the ministry had yet to receive submissions for medical marijuana despite being open for submissions since last November.
Last year, the Ministry of Health also conducted studies which revealed that ketum extracts have anti-malarial and antimutagenic properties, which prevent cells from undergoing alterations that could lead to cancer.
At the time, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, stated that these studies were still in the pre-clinical stage and the ministry was still assessing ketum’s effectiveness.
However, some netizens were less enthusiastic about the idea, uncertain if the movement will result in more good than bad. Some went on to question the Cabinet’s credibility regarding the matter.
Others pointed out that the act was unnecessary and would bring about more illegal activity as it will be difficult to enforce while maintaining full control over the people.