Malaysia has some of the strictest cannabis laws in the world. Despite a rich history of using cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes, it is currently illegal to possess, use, sell, or cultivate cannabis in Malaysia. The country imposes severe penalties for any violations of these laws, including lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines.
History of cannabis laws in Malaysia
Malaysia’s relationship with cannabis can be traced back to the 19th century when it was introduced by Indian migrant workers. At the time, cannabis was primarily used for medicinal purposes and was widely available in pharmacies. However, in the early 20th century, cannabis use began to be associated with opium and other illicit drugs, leading to the introduction of strict laws governing its use.
In 1952, Malaysia enacted the Dangerous Drugs Act, which made it illegal to possess, use, sell, or cultivate cannabis. The law was amended in 1983, imposing even stricter penalties for any violations. Under the current law, any person caught possessing or trafficking cannabis can face the death penalty.
Penalties for cannabis offenses in Malaysia
As mentioned, the penalties for violating Malaysia’s cannabis laws are severe. Possession of even small amounts of cannabis can lead to lengthy prison sentences, fines, or both. Those caught selling or trafficking cannabis face even harsher penalties, including the death penalty.
Under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act, anyone found guilty of trafficking more than 200 grams of cannabis can be sentenced to death. Those caught trafficking smaller amounts of cannabis face lengthy prison sentences and caning.
The government’s zero-tolerance policy towards cannabis extends to foreigners as well. Any foreigner caught possessing or trafficking cannabis in Malaysia can face deportation and a lifetime ban from entering the country.
Possible future of cannabis legalization in Malaysia
Despite the strict cannabis laws in Malaysia, there have been calls for legalization in recent years. Advocates argue that legalization could help reduce drug-related crime and generate revenue for the government. However, the government has shown minimal signs of changing its stance on cannabis, despite neighboring Thailand legalizing it in 2022.
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