Aceh to weed out pot in food


Authorities in Aceh are planning to launch raids on restaurants in the province to seize food containing marijuana, as the conservative Muslim region is set to host the country’s largest sports event, the National Games (PON), in September.

The plan was announced recently by the Aceh office of the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM).

“We need to make sure that people visiting the province during PON are comfortable eating our traditional food,” Aceh BNN head Brig Gen Marzuki Ali Basyah said on Tuesday, as reported by kompas.com.

“We want to erase the stigma that Aceh’s food is seasoned with marijuana,” he added.

Marzuki said restaurants using marijuana as spices for their dishes would harm their customers who did not know that they were consuming an illegal substance.

He cited an example of a recent arrest made of a man after he tested positive for marijuana during a drug raid.

Investigators later found that he had unknowingly consumed marijuana-laced food when dining at a traditional Aceh restaurant.

“We don’t want this to happen again. We also don’t want athletes participating in the upcoming PON to be tested positive for marijuana during their doping tests simply because they ate Aceh food,” Marzuki said.

Cannabis is strictly illegal in the country. The 2009 Narcotics Law, deemed one of the strictest drug laws in the world, lists cannabis as a type-1 narcotic alongside 65 other drugs, including opium, cocaine and methamphetamine.

The usage and production of type-1 narcotics, including for medicinal purposes, are forbidden, except for certain research purposes. Unauthorised marijuana possession, production and trading can result in up to 20 years in prison.

But Aceh historians have argued that people in the region have used marijuana as a herbal medicine and seasoning since at least since the 15th century, long before Indonesia declared its independence in 1945.

At one point, the use of cannabis was so common in Aceh that locals grew it in their backyards to be publicly sold. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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