Survey: Four in 10 Malaysians want legal medical marijuana

The survey found that 57 per cent of the 1,012 Malaysians polled believe marijuana has medicinal value. — Reuters pic
The survey found that 57 per cent of the 1,012 Malaysians polled believe marijuana has medicinal value. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 — Four in 10 Malaysians back the proposal to legalise marijuana for medical purposes, according to a survey by YouGov Omnibus.

The survey found that 57 per cent of the 1,012 Malaysians polled believe marijuana has medicinal value, while one in eight (12 per cent) disagreed and 32 per cent said they don’t know.

When it comes to whether they believe marijuana should be legalised for medical use, the survey found that 43 per cent agreed that it should be made legal for this purpose.

A quarter or 25 per cent of the 1,012 Malaysians in the survey disagreed that marijuana should be made legal for medical use, while 32 per cent again said they did not know.

The YouGov poll found that Malaysian men were more likely to support legalising medical marijuana (50 per cent) compared to 36 per cent of female respondents who backed the idea.

“YouGov data shows that one in seven (14 per cent) Malaysians have been diagnosed with medical conditions that, according to WebMD, could potentially be treated by medical marijuana. The most common medical conditions amongst Malaysians surveyed are depression (6 per cent), anxiety (5 per cent), eating disorders (3 per cent) and cancer (3 per cent),” YouGov said in a statement today.

YouGov said those diagnosed with these medical conditions were more likely to support the legalisation of medical marijuana, with almost half or 49 per cent being in favour.

“The debate on medical marijuana is a hotly contested one, and it appears Malaysians remain divided on the issue. There are plenty of factors swaying one’s opinion on whether or not legalisation should take place; be it gender, income group or, most notably, whether a person suffers from an illness medical marijuana can potentially treat,” Head of YouGov Omnibus in APAC Jake Gammon was quoted as saying in the statement.

Infographic provided courtesy of YouGov
Infographic provided courtesy of YouGov

Making it legal for recreation

On legalising marijuana for recreational use, it found little backing among the Malaysians surveyed, with six in 10 or 60 per cent opposing this.

“Opposition to recreational marijuana legalisation comes more from older Malaysians, with eight in 10 (85 per cent) of those over the age of 55 against it,” YouGov said.

“Overall, over one in eight (13 per cent) Malaysians support legalisation of marijuana for both medical and recreational use. This compares to four in 10 (43 per cent) Brits and five in 10 (52 per cent) Americans,” it added.

The YouGov research was carried out as Malaysia and Thailand race to become the first Asian country to legalise medical marijuana.

Infographic provided courtesy of YouGov
Infographic provided courtesy of YouGov

Harmful perception ranking

In the YouGov poll involving seven different addictive substances including four types of drugs, Malaysians ranked heroin as the most harmful (42 per cent), followed by LSD (26 per cent), marijuana (21 per cent) and cocaine at 16 per cent.

“Alcohol (12 per cent) was viewed to be more harmful than tobacco (6 per cent), and caffeine (3 per cent) was ranked as the least,” YouGov said.

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