KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — Some Acts and procedures need to be amended if the government wants to allow the cultivation of ketum and hemp in the country, says Bukit Aman Narcotics Crime Investigation Department director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.

He said among the amendments that needed to be made involved the Poisons Act 1952 because ketum contains psycho-active substances that could be sedative and euphoric, and also to the National Land Code 1965.

“At present, the planting of ketum is not an offence but when it is picked, processed, sold and exported then it becomes an offence

“And since the power to manage land is under the State List in the Federal Constitution, it also needs to be amended. We will abide by any decision the government makes but many procedures and processes need to be followed,” he said at a press conference in Bukit Aman here today.

According to him, so far tests on the effects of ketum use have only been done on animals at the pre-clinical stage only. Clinical trials have not been done on humans to identify its side effects.

“Many types of research need to be done. For example, there are talks that the planting of ketum can generate RM180 million a year.

“However, other costs need to be looked at. For instance, presently we have about 130,000 addicts and 25 per cent of them (36,000) are placed at the Voluntary Narcotics Addiction Rehabilitation Centre (Puspen),” he said.

Apart from that, Ayob Khan said the National Anti-Drug Agency also did not have a special rehabilitation programme for ketum abuse.

Yesterday, Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin was reported as saying that the Cabinet gave its go-ahead for discussions to be held on behalf of the Padang Besar parliamentary constituency with Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on the permission for the cultivation of ketum and hemp for medicinal purposes. — Bernama