The usage of cannabis in Malaysia is a highly debated topic. While some people believe that the herb has bountiful medicinal benefits, others are more sceptical.
JUICE has covered the topic multiple times by interviewing filmmakers who are set on decriminalising the plant as well as reporting the advocacy of a Pahang royal.
There are even numerous NGOs dedicated to destigmatising cannabis in Malaysia such as Malaysia Society of Awareness (MASA).
Two prominent figures of the medicinal cannabis movement are Lukman Mohamad and Amiruddin Nadarajan Abdullah @ Dr Ganja, both awaiting a death sentence until now.
The former of the two, Lukman Mohamad, has escaped the death penalty today (February 17).
For those who are unaware, the former engineer was found guilty of owning, processing, and distributing marijuana types that have been processed in the form of liquid (oil). He was actually arrested with his five-month pregnant wife.
He has treated over 800 people with medical marijuana.
Many people found his conviction to be unjust, prompting a petition with over 91,000 signatures, calling for his release. Even the former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, agreed that there was a need to review his case.
Today, the three-member bench chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat upheld Lukman Mohamad’s guilt under Section 9 of the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA).
“There is a failure by the prosecution to prove the weight of the drugs and the conviction cannot be sustained,” said Tengku Maimun in an open court proceeding.
He has now been sentenced to five years on each count of possession, to run concurrently, meaning he will only serve five years. The penalty under this provision is a maximum of five years jail and/or fine of up to RM20,000 or both.
Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said his client would be freed from the Maran jail after a prison official completes administering the whippings.
“If not for the whipping, he should be freed immediately as the seven-year jail term has been completed, with a one-third remission,” he told FMT.
Although Luqman is no longer facing the death sentence, his release is not seen as a victory for medical marijuana advocacy in Malaysia, as it was a result of the prosecution’s “failure to prove the weight of the drugs”.
On the other hand, Dr Ganja’s appeal has yet to be resolved.