Indonesia High Court Rejects Medical Cannabis Use and Upholds Drug Laws

Indonesia’s highest court upheld the nation’s drug laws, reaffirming that medical cannabis is illegal in a case regarding the treatment of minors with cerebral palsy.


Full story after the jump.

Indonesia’s constitutional court has ruled that the nation’s existing narcotics laws are constitutional and rejected requests to use cannabis for medical purposes, according to a Bloomberg report. The court, however, did order the government to review the way it categorizes narcotics, which could open the door for medical cannabis use. 

Presiding judge Anwar Usman ruled that a change in the existing classification system would be required to allow medical cannabis use in Indonesia. 

Under current law, cannabis is placed among the most addictive substances, the report says, and any use outside of research is illegal. The country imposes the death penalty for drug trafficking.  

The case was brought to the nation’s highest court in 2020 by three mothers of children with cerebral palsy with the support of civil society organizations, Reuters reports. The plaintiffs argued that medical cannabis could be used to treat the symptoms of the children. 

Judge Suhartoyo said that “the court needs to emphasize that the government [should] immediately follow up” and that “the results of which can be used to determine policies, including in this case the possibility of changing the law.”  

Yosua Octavian, from the Legal Aid Institute, which is involved in the case, told Reuters that the decision “only shifted the responsibility to the government by asking the government to immediately conduct research.” 

“The point has been rejected,” Octavian said. “So people who use marijuana for health reasons in Indonesia will continue to be punished.” 

Indonesia’s parliament has indicated it would complete a comprehensive study on the benefits of medical cannabis. 

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