In wake of widespread public sympathy, call for research into medical cannabis

Source – July 13, 2022
Santi Warastuti (left) with daughter and supporters on Car Free Day in Jakarta – June 26, 2022 (Instagram)

Singgih Wiryono, Jakarta – The Community Legal Aid Institute (LBHM) is urging the government to immediately conduct research into the benefits of cannabis for medical purposes.

This was conveyed by LBHM public defender Maruf Bajammal after taking part in the first hearing of a public information dispute on the absense of data supporting the government's prohibition of cannabis as a medical drug which was held today, Wednesday July 13.

"The government [must] immediately conduct research on the benefits of narcotics in the interest of health, including cannabis in Indonesia", said Bajammal.

In addition to this, the LBHM is also demanding that the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), the national police and the Ministry of Health provide information and scientific evidence on why they still reject the use of medical cannabis.

The government is also being asked to make policy decisions on the use of medical cannabis based on social need.

"The need for medical cannabis in several cases of late is urgently needed, at the very least for three mothers who have submitted a judicial review of the Narcotics Law with the constitutional Court. Including also Ibu [Mrs] Santi Warastuti who has recently received a great deal of sympathy from the public in her fight to treat her child with medical cannabis", he said.

On September 28, 2020, the LBHM launched a public information lawsuit with the Public Information Commission (KIP). Hearings have begun in the lawsuit which is still at the stage of administrative verification between the plaintiff and the defendant.

In the dispute, the LBHM is asking the government to spell out its reasons for prohibiting cannabis as a treatment with scientific evidence.

"If the government's opposition [to medical cannabis] is without a valid scientific basis then it shows that the government has taken this position based only on opinion and stigma which cannot be justified", said Bajammal.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pemerintah Didesak Segera Lakukan Penelitian Terkait Pemanfaatan Ganja Medis".]