Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture has decided to remove cannabis from its list of medicinal plants.
Before this decision was made, cannabis appeared on the list alongside 65 other medicinal plants that the ministry oversees. On August 28, it appears that the medicinal classification of cannabis sativa has been abolished. The news was discovered when the Instagram account for Nusantara Marijuana Network (LGN) posted a photo of the official decree. LGN is well-known for its pro-cannabis advocacy efforts. According to The Jakarta Post, a statement from the Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo explained that his commitment to “eradicate drug abuse” led to the decision.
“The decree will be revised soon, after we coordinate with the National Narcotics Agency [BNN], the Health Ministry and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences [LIPI],” said the Ministry of Agriculture’s vegetable and medicinal plant director, Tommy Nugraha. “Marijuana’s inclusion on the medicinal plant list means that it can only be used for research, as stipulated in Article 67 of Law No. 13/2020 on horticulture. Currently, we record no legal marijuana farmers in Indonesia.” Nugraha also mentioned that cannabis has been on the medicinal plant list since 2006, and it was mainly to assist cannabis farmers in choosing to farm something else instead.
Both medical and recreational cannabis is illegal in Indonesia due to the 2009 Narcotics Law, which categorizes the plant as a Type-1 narcotic (lumped in with substances like opium and cocaine). The country’s infamous enforcement of this law has led to countless prison sentences. One man who was using cannabis to treat pain caused by a spinal cord disease was found guilty in court and was sentenced to 10 months in prison.
According to the National Narcotics Agency, approximately 63 percent of Indonesian residents (ages 15 to 65 years old) are cannabis consumers, despite the fact that the country has one of the strictest cannabis policies in the world.