SLIGHTLY more than half of 1,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents surveyed recently believe the Republic should consider legalising cannabis for medical purposes.
Asked whether Singapore should consider legalising cannabis only for medical purposes, 53% said “yes”.
More than a third, or 35 %, said “no” to any legalisation, and the remaining 12% voted “yes” to legalising its use for both medical and recreational purposes.
Attitudes towards the use of cannabis have become more liberal in some societies, including in Thailand, which legalised the growing and consumption of cannabis in June.
The survey, commissioned by The Sunday Times and carried out by consumer research company Milieu Insight in September, also showed differences in views across age groups.
Nearly three in five, or 59%, of those aged 16 to 34 voted “yes” to legalising cannabis only for medical purposes. This dropped to 57% for those aged 35 to 44, 50% for those aged 45 to 54, and 44% for those aged 55 and above.
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is extremely rare in Singapore. The drug is also known as marijuana or weed.
The Straits Times has reported that since 2019, two people who suffer from treatment-resistant epilepsy were granted permission to use cannabis-derived medication here.
At a Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association conference on Thursday, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said Singapore based its policies on evidence and science, which clearly show cannabis use is harmful.
It does allow controlled access to cannabis-derived medication where other options have been exhausted.
“If a doctor tells me, and doctors do say in Singapore, they need to use cannabis, we allow. If doctors prescribe it under certain conditions for a patient, we will approve ... But that should be a choice of doctors, not pharma companies selling through shops,” he said.
A 2015 study by the Institute of Mental Health found that there was some medical evidence to support the use of purified synthetic cannabinoids for the treatment of limited conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, chronic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis – a disease of the brain and spinal cord.
But the use of cannabinoids has to be weighed against potential side effects, as information on their long-term safety and efficacy is scarce, said the study. — The Straits Times/ANN