The government was reported to have given the green light for cultivation of hemp and ketum for medicinal purposes.
According to a report by Utusan, Deputy communications and multimedia minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin said the Cabinet had no objections and instructed his ministry to discuss with health minister Khairy Jamaluddin on how best to proceed with granting approval for the planting process.
“This is a very good development, especially for those involved in the medical field.”
“Again, I would like to reiterate that any approval is for medicinal purposes and not for recreational use,”
“The public should not misunderstand, we approved ketum not for drinking but only for exporting as ketum and hemp are in high demand abroad,” Zahidi said, while emphasizing on their medicinal qualities.
He also said he was confident the Cabinet would soon approve their medical use here.
Last month, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has called on the Federal government to allow the export of ketum leaves to meet the high demand by pharmaceutical companies abroad.
He said that the ketum leaves that are grown in Kedah are in high demand, especially in the neighbouring country of Thailand, where they had already legalised ketum and is widely used for medical purposes.
Earlier this month, the parliamentary caucus on medical cannabis said policy issues on the development of the hemp, cannabis and ketum industry would be raised in the Cabinet after it held a meeting.
The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and he acknowledged the industry was vastly developed in many countries and valued at RM60 billion at present.
Ismail was said to have given a positive response to the policy issues raised, which also included the issue of people facing court charges, as well as those found guilty of consuming cannabis for medicinal purposes.
In the meantime, Khairy also said his ministry was ready to collaborate with industry players or academia to research the medicinal use of marijuana.