Medical marijuana has become part of a public discussion after a mother named Santi Warastuti voiced her aspirations at a recent Jakarta Car Free Day event to help access medical marijuana for her son, Pika, who suffers from cerebral palsy or brain paralysis.
Her actions were later discussed by a number of experts with those in authority, including the Indonesian Vice President, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), and members of the House of Representatives.
The Vice President and Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Indonesian Ulema Council, KH Ma’ruf Amin, asked the Fatwa Committee to immediately prepare a fatwa – a decision or opinion given on a legal issue that arises in the lives of Muslims – which in this case, is on the use of marijuana for medical reasons.
“Marijuana is indeed prohibited in Islam. For health issues, the Indonesian Ulema Council must make a new fatwa,” said Amin, quoted from the MUI official website on Wednesday 29th June 2022.
Amin stated that a fatwa was needed to guide the legislators in formulating the legalisation of medical marijuana.
“I think the MUI will soon issue a fatwa to be guided by the House of Representatives. Don’t let it be too much to cause harm,” he said.
Deputy Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives Sufmi Dasco Ahmad also stated that his team would soon review the discourse on legalising medical marijuana in Indonesia.
In his explanation, it was stated that Indonesia has yet to study the use of marijuana for treatment or medical purposes because it conflicts with the law. However, in some countries, cannabis plants can already be used for medical and recreational purposes.
“Later, we will try to study whether it is then possible for marijuana to be used as a medical drug,” said Ahmad.
Furthermore, Deputy Chairman of Commission IX of the House of Representatives Charles Honoris said that his view is that Indonesia should have started a study on the benefits of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa) for medical purposes.
“This objective medical study will provide scientific legitimacy as to whether a medical cannabis programme should be implemented in Indonesia,” said Honoris in his statement on Wednesday.
He explained that at the end of 2020, the United Nations Narcotics Commission (CND) had removed marijuana and cannabis resin from Group IV of the Single Convention on Narcotics of 1961. This means that marijuana has been removed from the list of the most dangerous drugs that have no medical benefits.
“On the contrary, this UN decision has prompted many countries to review their country’s policies regarding the use of the cannabis plant for medical treatment,” he added.
Honoris explained that there are now more than 50 countries that already have medical marijuana programmes, including neighbouring countries Malaysia and Thailand.
“Regardless of whether Indonesia will carry out a medical marijuana programme or not, research is mandatory and very important to do so that it becomes the basis for policy-making or drafting further regulations,” he said.
Honoris emphasised that medical research must continue to develop and be dynamic for humanitarian purposes.
“It is in order to save the lives of Pika and other children with brain inflammation, which the mother believes can be treated with marijuana. The state must not stand idly by to see another Pika waiting to fulfill his right to health,” he concluded.