Dr M: Review charges against medicinal marijuana carrier on death row

Muhammad Lukman and his wife Nadiah Rahmat are brought to the Telok Datok Magistrate’s Court in Banting, Kuala Langat December 7, 2017. — Bernama pic
Muhammad Lukman and his wife Nadiah Rahmat are brought to the Telok Datok Magistrate’s Court in Banting, Kuala Langat December 7, 2017. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has agreed today with the need to review charges against a marijuana distributor facing the death penalty for helping patients with chronic illnesses.

Earlier this week, PKR’s Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said she would be appealing the case to Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas.

“No, I think we should review that,” Dr Mahathir said in a short reply, when asked to comment on the matter.

Muhammad Lukman, 29, was charged with possessing, processing and distributing cannabis oil under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carries the death penalty. He was convicted and sentenced to hang by the High Court on August 30.

Police had reportedly raided Lukman’s home on December 7, 2015 and found 3.1 litres of oil containing tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, 1.4kg of a substance containing THC and 279g of cannabis.

After Lukman’s story vent viral, a petition was also launched to appeal to the AG to free him, which has garnered close to 42,000 signatures.

A 2014 US-based survey by health site WebMD showed that the majority of doctors said medical marijuana should be legalised, with the highest support coming from oncologists and haematologists, as it is typically used to treat chronic pain from illnesses like cancer, chemotherapy-related nausea and multiple sclerosis, besides seizure disorders.

Malaysia, however, has very strict drug laws. Section 6 of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 prohibits the possession of cannabis, an offence punishable with imprisonment of up to five years or a fine not exceeding RM20,000.

Under Section 39A of the same law, those found with over 50g are punishable with a jail term of at least five years and at least 10 strokes of the cane.