Malaysian cannabis stakeholders have hailed policy clarifications that emerge as a gateway to access legal medical cannabis, but say the government should do more to advance the development of the hemp industry.
Maszeli Mohammad Wee of the Malaysia Hemptech Industrial Research Association (MHIRA) said “If the Malaysian government is serious about issues, the economy, and public health, it is time to introduce the hemp industries for the sake of the county”.
“We suggest that the Ministry of Health study the benefits of the hemp industry, including policy aspects that involve more focused ministers,” Wee said.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin amazed cannabis stakeholders late last year when he surprisingly declared the cultivation, import, and use of products and supplements infused with cannabis for medical use are permitted while undermining some government guidelines. The government approval to roll in medical cannabis products is a great initiative yet the Malaysian cannabis market has been downgraded for years and recent approval deems fit to ease the medical requirements of patients.
It is by far uncertain of the government as to how far the legalization efforts impact the society at large and the stigma associated with cannabis has been deep-rooted in the country, said a cannabis stakeholder. But another issue also needs to be addressed in context to legalization. The government lacks the initiative and has only declared the prospects to legalize medical cannabis, and has not even penned down the draft to proceed further.
As per different experts and stakeholders government is not keen on advancing any soon and is only clinking the future prospect. It’s been a year since this declaration was made and at such a slow pace it seems unfit to comment how farfetched it is to witness the rollout of medical cannabis products and supplements in the Malaysian market.
Recent research and studies have highlighted the benefits of cannabis in various medical conditions and can become a reliable resource for sustainable development. As of now, there is no legal framework for selling cannabis products, yet they are readily available online, considered as a gray market for hemp products. Also, hemp seed food products including hemp seed oil and hemp protein are available legally in premium supermarkets, but supplies are uneven and those products are frequently out of stock.
The government’s active support can boost the Malaysian economy and help in the medical sector by developing local markets and exports, said a medical cannabis activist. It is also important to consider the fact that former Prime Minister Mr. Mahathie bin Mohamad’s resignation in the early 2020’s slowed down the progress of authorizing medical cannabis in Malaysia. With the elections anticipated this year in the middle of the current political commotion, more challenges could be expected for the scared stakeholders.