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Cannabis Death Sentence Spurs MMJ Legalization Talks in Malaysia

Malaysian leaders are floating the idea of legalizing medical cannabis as activists lash out over a death sentence handed last month to a 29-year-old man, Bloomberg reports.

The Cabinet of Malaysia, the country’s executive branch of government, reportedly discussed potential medicinal benefits of cannabis use during a meeting last week. Xavier Jayakumar, the Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources, told Bloomberg that informal, preliminary talks about amending the country’s cannabis laws are underway.

The man who was sentenced to death had been convicted of possessing, processing, and distributing medical cannabis oils. According to Jayakumar, the cabinet determined it will overturn his unpopular death sentence — which had prompted the public outrage — but actual legalization talks might not go as smoothly.

“It will take a bit of encouragement and convincing as far as this topic is concerned. My own personal view is that if it’s got medicinal value, then it can be a controlled item that can be used by (the) Ministry of Health for prescription purposes.” — Xavier Jayakumar, Malaysia’s Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources, via Bloomberg

Jayakumar suggested that keeping the medical use of cannabis separate from recreational use is the core issue that might disrupt the country’s MMJ legalization process.

If successful, Malaysia would be the first country in Asia to legalize medical cannabis.

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