KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — The main committee for the development of the cannabis and ketum industry has been set up to look at the latest evidence on the use of the substances, especially for medical purposes, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Khairy – who is also the chairman of the committee – when winding up the debate on the Poisons (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the Dewan Rakyat today said the first meeting would be held on July 25.
“After this committee gets the views of experts on whether ketum or cannabis can be used safely for certain purposes, especially medicine, then we will issue a framework for the registration of such products.
“This will also make a difference to ketum growers in Malaysia who may be able to gain revenue from the sale of their ketum crops,” he said in response to a suggestion by Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar @ Yusre Mohd Akin (PH-Hang Tuah Jaya) on the government’s roadmap to legalise the use of ketum for medical purposes in the country.
Khairy said he had previously hinted that there was a strong possibility the ministry would issue a framework for registration for cannabidiol-related products by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Khairy said the Bill aimed at – among other things – providing flexibility in the handling of poisons by allowing the use of documents in electronic form as well as increasing several penalties in Act 366 regarding the use of poisons and psychotropic substances.
The Poisons (Amendment) Bill 2022 was passed by a majority vote.
Khairy said the proposal to increase the penalty in the provisions of the law was not made arbitrarily but with full responsibility and awareness so as not to punish any party.
“This is not the spirit behind the amendment to the Poisons Act. After we engaged with enforcement agencies and all the stakeholders, we found that the existing punishment was not commensurate to preventing offenders from repeating their offences, and it did not serve as a lesson or be a deterrent to others from committing wrongdoing.
“The main principle under the amendment of this Act is to protect the people, the environment and the country from the very harmful effects of poisons, the harmful effects of improper, irregular and unorganised handling of poisons and psychotropic substances. This is a matter of life and death,” he said.
Khairy said the proposal on the steep increase in penalties was made with regard to the harmful impact of abuse and misappropriation of controlled substances under the Act while the quantum of the fine was in line with the fines of other Acts enforced by the Ministry of Health and other ministries.
Section 30 of the Poisons Act was amended to increase the penalty from a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding four years, or both, to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both.