Up in smoke: Indonesian ministry to revoke marijuana’s designation as ‘medicinal plant’


The Agriculture Ministry will revise a 2020 ministerial decree that lists marijuana as a “medicinal plant” under the ministry’s supervision. - AFP

JAKARTA, Aug 29 (The Jakarta Post/ANN): The Agriculture Ministry will revise a 2020 ministerial decree that lists marijuana as a “medicinal plant” under the ministry’s supervision.

Signed on Feb 3, the decree includes marijuana (Cannabis sativa) as one of 66 medicinal plants whose production is under the supervision of the ministry’s horticulture directorate general.

The decree went viral on Friday after the Nusantara Marijuana Network (LGN) posted a photo of the document on its Instagram account, @lgn_id.

The ministry responded that it would revise the decree because of Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo’s commitment to “eradicate drug abuse”.

“The decree will be revised soon, after we coordinate with the National Narcotics Agency [BNN], the Health Ministry and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI),” the ministry’s vegetable and medicinal plant director, Tommy Nugraha, said in a statement on Saturday (Aug 29).

He added that marijuana had been listed as a medicinal plant since 2006 because the ministry wanted to help marijuana farmers shift to growing other crops.

“Marijuana’s inclusion on the medicinal plant list means that it can only be used for research, as stipulated in Article 67 of Law No. 13/2020 on horticulture. Currently, we record no legal marijuana farmers in Indonesia,” Tommy added.

Marijuana is illegal in Indonesia.

The 2009 Narcotics Law includes the plant as a type-1 narcotic, alongside opium and cocaine, meaning it is forbidden for both recreational and medicinal use.

The country’s stringent anti-cannabis enforcement has resulted in the arrests of several people, including Reyndhart Siahaan in East Nusa Tenggara.

He was arrested for allegedly using marijuana, which he said relieved the pain caused by a spinal cord disease. The court later declared him guilty and sentenced him to 10 months' imprisonment.

Numerous studies have indicated the effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD), one of the plant’s active ingredients, as a medication.

Peter Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School wrote that CBD could be used to treat pain, epilepsy, seizures, anxiety and insomnia.

The LGN has been pushing for a revision of the Narcotics Law and the legalization of marijuana for medicinal use since 2010. - The Jakarta Post/Asian News Network
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