canna mes Indone?sie (1)

Medical cannabis: Indonesian court rejects review of drug law

On Wednesday 20 July 2022, Indonesia's Constitutional Court rejected a request for a judicial review of the country's narcotics law. This could have paved the way for the legalisation of the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes. However, the judges found that there was not enough evidence and not enough research had been done so far to justify the move. They then urged the government to conduct research into the therapeutic use of medical cannabis immediately.

Indonesia still fearful of the medical herb

Supported by civil society organisations, the mothers of three children with cerebral palsy filed a legal challenge to the country's strict drug law in 2020. They argued for the use of medical marijuana to treat their children's symptoms. The application was rejected.

Judge Suhartoyo said the court mandated the government to conduct follow-up tests as a matter of urgency so that the results could be used as a basis for determining policies and potentially changing laws...

Southeast Asia has some of the strictest anti-drug laws in the world, with penalties for possession or even trafficking of large quantities of drugs ranging from imprisonment to life or death.

To remedy this and win their case, the plaintiffs had insisted that the prohibition on being allowed to use drugs for medical reasons was a constitutional violation of the right of citizens to have access to health services and to benefit from the development of science and technology.

Government under pressure from families in need

Yosua Octavian of the Legal Aid Institute, a civil society group involved in the case, revealed that she believed that the Constitutional Court had merely shifted responsibility to the government by asking it to conduct research immediately.

Therefore, people who use cannabis for health reasons will continue to be punished for it. However, as the nation legislates, parents of children with special needs are in a race against time...

The Indonesian parliament has pledged to undertake extensive studies on the benefits of medical cannabis. Any decision to legalise it would follow Thailand's decision to become the first Asian country to allow the plant for medicinal purposes in 2018 and then its cultivation and consumption this year.

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