Malaysia plans to learn from the cannabis policy of neighbouring Thailand in its effort to legalise use of the drug for medical purposes, a health ministry official said on Wednesday, in a country where possession can bring the death penalty now.
The comments came after the Thai health minister said he would meet his Malaysian counterpart during a meeting of APEC health ministers next week where Thailand will showcase its work in legalising medicinal marijuana.
With a tradition of using cannabis to calm pain and fatigue, Thailand legalised medicinal marijuana in 2018, becoming in June the first Asian nation to decriminalise cultivation of marijuana and its consumption in food and drink.
“We are developing our own framework for the usage of cannabis for medical purposes, and want to learn from Thailand,” the Malaysian official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The Malaysian government was interested in learning from Thailand’s framework for medical use, he added.
The cultivation and recreational use of marijuana is now illegal in Malaysia, and possession of more than 200 grams (7 oz) of the drug entails a mandatory death sentence.
But Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has said the import and use of medical marijuana under a doctor’s prescription is permissible if it is registered and licensed with the Drug Control Authority.