KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — The Malaysian Hemp Industry Research Association (MHIRA) has backed Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s plans to review the Dangerous Drugs Act and the Poisons Act to regulate the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
“If cannabis is introduced in Malaysia, what is important is that it is done transparently and wisely, such as prioritising the Sativa L family such as hemp as a medical introduction without giving drug effects ‘to patients’. This includes aspects of human capital development, science-based health and linking the hemp industry towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDG2030)”, said MHIRA president Johan Mohamad.
In Southeast Asia, Japan, Pakistan, Nepal and Thailand are among the countries which allow the cultivation of cannabis hemp.
“We also suggest that the Ministry of Health study the benefits of the hemp industry, including policy aspects that involve other ministries. If the Malaysian government takes social, economic, and public health issues seriously, it is time to introduce the cannabis growing industry for the sake of the country,” said MHIRA Agro and Policy executive councillor Maszeli Mohammad Wee.
MHIRA, which was registered in 2016, has over 600 members throughout Malaysia, including researchers, civil servants, farmers, cooperatives, local entrepreneurs, pharmacists, investors, and academics.
Maszeli said Malaysia has a good chance of developing the growing of cannabis as an industry, due to favourable weather factors that gave a harvest of approximately five times in two years.
Hemp contains more cannabidiol or CBD, with up to 20 per cent of compounds, with no psychoactive effects. CBD products have been widely introduced in Japan and South Korea.
Cannabis can be divided into three main species, namely Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis. Hemp is a subspecies of Sativa, which is permitted in over 67 countries for industrial and medicinal uses.
There are also patients who need the THC compound Tetrahydrocannabinol in managing pain associated with chronic diseases such as cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and cancer.
A recent study from Oregon Health and Science University has also demonstrated the ability of the hemp compound in preventing the Covid-19 virus from entering human cells.
MHIRA hopes that the cannabis bill in Malaysia will be a step forward in building a progressive nation. Through its experience in research efforts and cannabis rescheduling at the international level, MHIRA is open to collaboration with ministries and agencies involved in this effort.