Jakarta – The Indonesian Advocacy and Justice Action Campaign (AKSI) community admits that it is disappointed by an Agriculture Ministry (Kepmentan) decision to revise a 2020 ministerial decree that lists marijuana as a medicinal plant.
Previously, Agricultural Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo included marijuana as a medical plant through Agricultural Ministry Decree Number 104/KPTS/HK.140/M/2/2020. Today however it was declared that the decree has been temporarily revoked because it wanted to coordinate with the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), the Health Ministry (Kemenkes) and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).
“We very much regret the Agricultural Ministry’s position which has recently revoked the ministerial decree. We hope that the Agricultural Ministry will return its earlier position and maintain the decree”, said AKSI Coordinator Yohan Misero as quoted in an official press release on Saturday August 29.
Misero said that they appreciated the ministerial regulation on Agricultural Ministry Cultivated Commodities because it showed a progressive attitude towards the need for community based treatment.
Moreover, AKSI believes that Indonesia’s regulations on narcotics, which are very tight, have had many bad impacts both socially, on the budget, human rights and community health.
He gave the example of the indictment of Fidelis Arie in 2017 who was arrested for treating his now deceased wife Yeni Riawati with marijuana extract. Misero believes that the legal proceedings against Arie resulted in him stopping the treatment which ended in Yeni’s death.
This was indirect because Law Number 35/2009 on Narcotics prohibits the medical use of marijuana and defines it as a class I narcotic along with crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, opium and heroin.
A similar thing happened to Reyndhart Rossy Nahisa Siahaan who was indicted this year for purchasing and using marijuana for medical purposes to treat himself. Siahaan was prosecuted and sentenced to 10 months in prison.
“Our hope is that other K/L [groups/institutions] will endeavour to respond to the Kepmentan with a more supportive position. Nevertheless, the Kepmentan doesn’t automatically change the landscape of narcotics regulations in Indonesia because what’s needed is basic reforms the narcotics law and or the Health Ministry’s regulation on the classification [of drugs]”, he said.
Speaking separately, a marijuana observer from Aceh, Syardani M Syariaf alias Tgk Jamaica, is asking the government to look at the advantages of growing marijuana both in terms of its medical as well as culinary use.
In earlier times in Aceh, he said, marijuana was used as a spice for cooking. The custom came under control with the enactment of legislation which defined marijuana as a narcotic.
“These laws turned marijuana into an illegal and haram [forbidden under Islamic law] plant. This is the main problem”, Jamaica told CNN Indonesia on Saturday.
According to Jamaica, Indonesia is still importing as much as 92 percent of its raw materials for medicines and he suspects that that this also includes raw materials made from marijuana.
“In overseas countries marijuana is already utilised in various areas of human life from health to medicines, cosmetics, food, drinks, the textile industry, paper, housing, medication, the automotive industry and others”, he said.
For Aceh, marijuana grown without fertilizer is seen as being of the best quality without peer in the world. If it is managed professionally, marijuana has the potential to become an economic resource and augment national revenue.
He is therefore asking the Indonesian government to immediately conduct a review of Law Number 35/2009 on Narcotics.
“If possible the law could be revised so marijuana is removed from the list of class I narcotics. So that marijuana can be utilised for human life”, he said.
Earlier, the Agricultural Minister revoked the Agricultural Ministry Decree Number 104/KPTS/HK.140/M/2/2020. In an official release, Limpo stated that the ministry will review the decree in relation to and in coordination with related stakeholders. (wel, dra/kid)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Komunitas Kecewa Kepmentan Ganja Tanaman Obat Dicabut”.]