No death penalty for having or distributing ganja registered as medicine

12 Feb 2019 / 16:24 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Companies or individuals involved in obtaining, possessing or distributing marijuana for medical purposes will not be penalised if the drug is registered as a medicine.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye (pix) said capital punishment only applied to those who use the drug without registering with it with the Pharmaceutical Department nor obtaining the appropriate licence.

“The Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (DDA) deals with how drugs are obtained, distributed or prescribed, so if you possess marijuana, you must prove that you have the proper licence,” he said at a press conference after the launching of OurCheckup, a doctor-assisted connected health platform, today.

”Even when you give it to patients, you must have a proper doctor’s prescription,” he added.

“This applies to other drugs such as morphine, for which a proper licence is also required for usage and distribution.”

Lee was asked to clarify a statement he made on Monday that it was okay to use marijuana, known locally as ganja, for medical purposes if there was strong evidence to show its efficacy.

This came a month after a man, Muhammad Lukman, was sentenced to death for possession of marijuana for medical purposes.

National Anti-Drugs Agency director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abdullah had also, on Sunday, said that cultivating marijuana was permitted with the ministry’s approval.

Lee explained that Lukman was charged under the DDA only because he had distributed the drug despite not having the required licenses.

He said that for a drug to be registered as a medicine, there must be proof that the formulation is safe and effective for public use.

When there is an application to register a new drug as a medicine, the Pharmaceutical Department will conduct tests to determine if it is safe and effective before approval is given. Even so, the drug can only be used under prescription.

However, Lee said, the ministry has yet to issue a licence to any individual or company to use marijuana as a medicine.

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