Indonesia’s Agriculture Ministry is set to revise a 2020 ministerial decree that listed cannabis as a “medicinal plant.” The decree, signed earlier this year, includes Cannabis Sativa as one of the 66 selected medicinal plants.
However, the production of the selected medicinal plants is under the supervision of the Agriculture ministry through its horticulture directorate-general. On Friday (August 28), the decree went viral after the Nusantara Marijuana Network (LGN), shared a photo of the document on its Instagram page @lgn_id.
This sparked a response to the ministry, saying it will revise the earlier ruling. According to the ministry, it would revise the decree in line with the Minister’s commitment to “eradicate drug abuse.”
Tommy Nugraha is the director of the vegetable and medicinal plant subdivision of the Agriculture Ministry. Regarding this issue, he said:
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). Marijuana’s inclusion on the medicinal plant list means that I 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.
Marijuana remains illegal in Indonesia
Currently, the law in Indonesia bans the use of marijuana in any form, whether recreational or medicinal. The 2009 Narcotics Law classifies cannabis as a type-1 narcotic, together with opium and cocaine. Indonesia’s tough anti-cannabis enforcement has led to the arrests of many people, including Reyndhart Siahaan in East Nusa Tenggara.
Siahaan was arrested for allegedly using cannabis, which according to him, relieved the pain caused by a spinal cord disease. He was declared guilty by the courts and sentenced to ten months in jail. Since 2010, the LGN has been advocating for a revision of the Narcotics Law and legalization of cannabis in the country.
This development comes just in the wake of a new analysis of cannabis research funding in the US, Canada, and the UK. According to the analysis, a bigger chunk of the funding focuses on the potential harms of cannabis, rather than its benefits.
The research found that up to $1.5 billion was directed to the cannabis topic between 2000 and 2018. About half of that money was spent on understanding the potential harms of the substance. During the same period, the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) was the biggest donor.
NIDA gave out much more money to dwell on researching cannabis misuse and its negative effects instead of using cannabis and its derived chemicals as a therapeutic drug.