Where |Malaysia

Capital |Kuala Lumpur

Inhabitants |31067000

Legal Status |illegal

Medical Program |no

by Seshata on 25/08/2014 | Legal & Politics

Cannabis in Malaysia

Malaysia Malaysia has some of the most draconian drug laws on the planet, and drug offenders are routinely sentenced to death, even when their crimes involve cannabis alone. Despite this, and due to its proximity to the Golden Triangle of heroin production in South-East Asia, Malaysia experiences significant illicit trafficking.


Law & international policy

Malaysia, which was part of British Malaya from 1874 to 1946, has drug laws based on the 1912 Hague Convention and the Geneva Conventions of 1925 and 1931, as well as a 1934 Bangkok treaty that imposed restrictions on opium. In 1943, the British outlawed unauthorised use of opium, and in 1952, the High Commissioner of the British Empire in Malaysia implemented the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

Cannabis in Malaysia - Sensi Seeds Blog
Malaysia has among the world’s harshest drug laws, with hundreds currently on death row – although few have been executed in recent years (© ET)

By the 1980s, Malaysia had developed significant levels of opium and heroin use, and the government decreed the problem to be a national threat. A task force was established, along with a new set of stricter laws, including mandatory death sentences and compulsory ‘cold-turkey’ addiction treatment. The total abstinence approach to addiction treatment appears to be softening in favour of medicine-based treatment, but there are few signs that an overall approach to drug policy is following suit.

Possession of up to 50 grams of cannabis is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to 20,000 ringgit (around €4,700); for possession of 20g and above, three to nine lashes may also be imposed. If found in possession of 50-200g of cannabis, a custodial sentence of at least five years is issued, along with up to ten lashes in some cases. Cultivation of cannabis is punishable by life imprisonment and no less than six lashes. Individuals arrested in possession of 200 grams or more of cannabis (or 40g of cocaine or 15g of heroin or morphine) are presumed to be trafficking in drugs and are subject to a mandatory death penalty, which is conducted by hanging.

Cannabis arrests & sentences in Malaysia

There are far too many cases of possession resulting in imposition of the death penalty to list every single one here. Over 900 individuals are currently on death row in Malaysia, and around 700 are there for drug offences; according to this online petition, over fifty of these individuals are there for cannabis trafficking. In 2013, two executions were carried out, and there was at least one execution per year between 2007 and 2011.

Cannabis in Malaysia - Sensi Seeds Blog
Death sentences in Malaysia are carried out by hanging; on average, one execution has been performed per year since 2007 (© mlhradio)

In 2009, 25-year-old Shahrul Izani Suparman was sentenced to death for allegedly being in possession of 622g of cannabis with intent to supply. He had spent six years in prison while fighting the charges, and was only 19 years old at the time of arrest. In 2013, three men were sentenced to death for allegedly attempting to sell 4.8kg of cannabis in a hospital car park in Kelantan providence, in the Malaysian Upper Peninsula. Two of the men had originally been acquitted, while one had been sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment in a 2010 ruling, which the prosecution later successfully overturned.

In June 2014, 27-year-old farm worker Naim Muhammad Zaki was sentenced to death by the high court in Alor Setar for the alleged crime of trafficking just under 2kg of cannabis. In July 2014, 37-year-old Nigerian student Uchechukwu Nelson Ohaechesi was sentenced to death in Kuala Lumpur for allegedly trafficking 26.5kg of cannabis, after the defence failed to establish reasonable doubt. It is not clear when the sentence will be carried out.

Cultivation of cannabis in Malaysia

Although cultivation is punishable by life imprisonment in Malaysia, there are some who are brave, desperate or foolish enough to attempt it—usually for personal use, although at least one instance of possible commercial cultivation has been recorded.

In February 2014, it was reported that three Malaysian men, one Indonesian woman and one French woman were arrested in Eastern Sabah state in Malaysian Borneo for alleged cultivation of thirty-six cannabis plants and possession of 0.5kg of processed cannabis. It was believed to be the first time cannabis had been cultivated in an apartment block in Malaysia. The woman and one man were charged with cultivation, while one of the men was charged with trafficking.

In 2007, two men aged 22 and 28 were arrested in Sarawak, Borneo for cultivating three cannabis plants in their back yards. In March 2000, an 18-year-old man, Mohamed Naziff Ahmad was sentenced to life imprisonment and six lashes in southern Johor state for cultivation of a single cannabis plant.

History of cannabis in Malaysia

Cannabis use among the native populations of South-East Asia, including Malaysia, is likely to have existed for centuries. There is very little research available into the entheogenic practices of ancient Malay peoples, and what little traditional use did exist has probably died out in the course of successive restrictive governments, both colonial and modern. However, it has been observed that the plant was traditionally used for relief of asthma by indigenous natives in rural Malaysia, and that cannabis is known to have been used by Arab traders in Malaysia since as early as the 8th century BCE.

Cannabis in Malaysia - Sensi Seeds Blog
Around the turn of the 20th century, an opium market began to thrive in Malaysia, with cannabis use following soon after (© oldandsolo)

It appears that cannabis use in the modern era was introduced in the late 19th century, at a time when international shipping had become more prevalent and the supply of commodities such as heroin and cannabis had begun to take off in earnest. Indian plantation workers and dockworkers are specifically credited with popularising the habit, which gradually increased in popularity from then on—although cannabis use has never reached the problematic levels seen with heroin.

In the 1960s and 1970s, a combination of the consequences of the Vietnam War and the rise of the ‘Hippie’ movement saw renewed interest in cannabis in Malaysian culture, which was heavily influenced by the many backpackers and soldiers who would pass through the country, or even stay for prolonged periods. A small culture of cannabis use became established, and although Malaysia’s drug laws have tightened since then, a culture of use clearly still persists.

The present-day cannabis trade in Malaysia

Cannabis is a valuable commodity in Malaysia, despite the severity of its laws. After the American withdrawal from Vietnam, demand for cannabis and heroin reduced significantly, and drug trafficking networks were forced to expand their operations. Malaysia became a transit country for trafficking of cannabis, heroin and various other illicit drugs, and is to some degree a destination country, but is not thought to produce any significant quantities of illicit drugs within the country.

Cannabis in Malaysia - Sensi Seeds Blog
Despite the harsh penalties, entrenched poverty in Malaysia drives many to become involved in narcotics trafficking (© Sebr)

Despite concerted efforts to reduce poverty in Malaysia, up to sixty percent of the population is at or below the poverty line, and struggling to buy basic necessities such as food. Drug trafficking can be highly lucrative in Malaysia, and is usually conducted by organised criminal gangs, often attracting poverty-stricken youths desperate to find a route out of deprivation, no matter the risks. Heroin, cannabis and other drugs are smuggled into Malaysia almost exclusively from the Golden Triangle, Thailand and Cambodia; despite concerted efforts to stop trafficking into Malaysia, there are signs that the trade is intensifying.

Although a small culture of cannabis use does exist in present-day Malaysia, its use is demonised in society and by the media, and has become associated with criminality, poverty and low-income immigrant populations. Despite the risks associated with its sale and possession, the plant is in high demand in areas frequented by foreign backpackers and young urban Malaysians, such as hostels and college campuses.

Legalisation of cannabis in Malaysia

As well as a small culture of cannabis use, Malaysia now has its own cannabis legalisation movement in the form of an organisation known as Gerakan Edukasi Ganja Malaysia (GENGGAM), which aims to educate the public and raise awareness of the potential health benefits of the plant. The group also seeks to promote government research, and their immediate goal is abolition of the death penalty for cannabis offences; however, its members must be careful to avoid negative attention.

In Parliamentary session in October 2010 the MP for Bayan Baru constituency requested of the Minister of Home Affairs that the Malaysian government conduct studies and reschedule cannabis due to its less harmful nature, although it does not appear that this request was granted. The head of the Malaysian AIDS Council, Zaman Khan, has also stated that his support for decriminalization of personal possession.

Purchasing and using in Malaysia

It is strongly advisable to refrain from attempting to purchase cannabis in Malaysia, as the risk of arrest is high in many areas where cannabis is likely to be found, and police are thought to regularly liaise with street dealers in order to identify drug buyers and solicit bribes. If one is detained on suspicion of attempting to purchase small quantities of cannabis, it is possible that bribes will prevent further action, but it is not advisable to take this risk. Usually, tourists are not subject to much police scrutiny, but will be apprehended if behaving in an overtly suspicious manner.

Cannabis in Malaysia - Sensi Seeds Blog
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, it is possible to source cannabis but generally not advisable due to risk of arrest (© Stuck in Customs)

Certain urban areas are frequented by street dealers, and areas with bars, tourist amenities and hostels are more likely hotspots. If fortunate enough to make friends with locals in such areas, it may be possible to find a trusted supplier; however, do not approach anyone without introduction, as undercover police activity is high in such areas. The price for cannabis in Malaysia ranges from 440 – 840 ringgit for an ounce, and quality ranges from low-grade brick weed to higher-quality sensimilla, and occasionally hashish.

There are also worrying anecdotal reports of deliberate contamination of ‘brick-weed’ mixed with other illicit drugs or chemicals, apparently including heroin, methamphetamine, and ketamine, among others. According to these reports, tourists purchasing contaminated cannabis have suffered adverse effects including unconsciousness.

Despite some signs that attitudes towards cannabis are shifting and the enactment of the death penalty is becoming less frequent, laws remain draconian and the situation remains dire. Travellers visiting Malaysia are advised to exercise utmost caution, and avoid any situation involving illicit drugs unless it is absolutely certain that there is no risk of arrest or physical harm.
We are currently working to compile up-to-date information on cannabis use and legislation in every country throughout the world. To this end, we welcome your information, advice, opinions and corrections.

Comment Section

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Marcus Lim

Thank you for writing such a complete article.

30/09/2014

joe

hi...thanx for the nice article....really good one...im from malaysia and i agree with what u said....ive been a user for about 5 years non stop now, on average i smoke for 250-300 days per year...its always brick weed we get here...and the potency may differ from bad schwag that will cause pulsing headache , to a really nice top of the mids brick with great smell, resin, and full body high experience...yet, all are packaged in compressed bricks...

now in 2014, we have seen some kush buds been passing around, but thats very very very rare...and expensive....another thing is that some are selling space cakes and cookies, meaning cannabis infused edibles, some are selling part time from home, and some are selling openly in public.....the edibles sold in malaysia are better than the brick weed, as i have experienced a lot of times....the high last for hours and hours....pure fun....and no one will know that u are buying or eating pot cookies in malaysia...haha....

my friend even smoked hash one time, from a couple friend visiting from abroad...
and pot paraphernalia are getting more and more common being sold in public, mainly in late night bazaars and some malls.....from acrylic to glass merchandise are available here in malaysia...and no one seem to be bothered by this....u can buy a glass bong in KL and no one will suspect u anything....

so, lastly, i just wanna give a shout out to any potheads coming to visit my malaysia, afraid not, and just be careful...dont buy from someone u just met, or even worst, dont buy from the streets....make some connections and friends first....dont be too desperate and when u do decide to buy, dont ever buy more than rm50 worth of brick weed. rm50 will get u around 10grams to 20 grams....enough to roll about 20 minimum fat spliffs....keep in mind that if u caught with 200g (approx rm700) of weed, it means death penalty....rm50(20grams) means just a night in the lockup and bribing the cops from rm2000 to rm 10000...usually rm2k....

peace out..

10/12/2014

Seshata

Thank you very much for this feedback, much appreciated!

14/12/2014

Tommy

Kl stoner strongly approve statement!!

25/05/2016

code the G

joe, need you man.. you still here?

01/06/2017

Conrad

Dear Joe , are you still here ? Need some product information on this

18/11/2017

Muhammad

The herb in KL is always brick and sometimes just awful and moldy. Its disturbing to find that the weed laws are so strict and causes the qulility to be next to none. A reform of the marijuana laws is badly needed in Malaysia. Poverty is struck all over the country and this plant could be a cash crop for many farmers. It not only provides medicine, but also food, clothing, and even fuel. Overreaction of the plant has caused it to be looked at as a dangerous drug and it isn't even remotely dangerous. The most dangerous thing about the plant is getting caught with it.

15/12/2014

Adrin

And you think Big Pharma is going to just sit back and let that happen? Hell no, they won't.

18/02/2016

Kanthan

So it's a big NO NO for buying seeds online and growing the plant for personal use then.. Damn

17/06/2017

Greg

A very helpfull article here.do more please

Malaysia, : Blunt smoking is way more harmfull and dangerous than smoking a roll of cannabis. So please, legalize it. Thanks.

ImmaSarawakians.

23/01/2015

Kix

Great article =)

01/03/2015

ahwee

great article!

13/08/2015

Tsunamikana

Great article and spot on. Apart fro GENGGAM, there are many other groups advocating Medical Cannabis treatment. A quick search on Facebook will lead you to 5-6 pages of such activity. We get brick weed, not knowing the strain, content or source. Never buy from street sellers.. you're being watched. Make friends.. it'll be a lot more fun.

01/09/2015

Nik Azmi

Very good article.
Pray we succeed in getting the Malaysian Government and all governments of this planet to see the goodness of ganja and at least decriminalise it for medical research for a start and later legalise it totally. Hey! Alcohol is legal and that after all religions forbid its consumption and the effects are terrible. Ganja is good for humans!!! Wake up everyone. It is pure gift from The Almighty and not man made. Pray we succeed. Salam and best regards. SORAK!!!

02/09/2015

D. Farang

Hi Seshata,

You are a good writer. I am a special needs teacher and carpenter, and believe that marijuana could help ADHD if properly managed.

I am also a writer, and putting together a manuscript about the demonization of cannabis. I have a minor thyroid issue, but control anxiety and keep my mood stable with cannabis. These days I vaporize it, and give the residue to a friend, as it still has plenty of THC left. I've been growing my own for almost 30 years, small time.

Would it be possible to use some of your good work in the manuscript? Of course it would be referenced as being from you and SensiSeed.

Best Regards,

D. Farang

04/09/2015

Tommy

Hi D. Farang,
I'm very interest in the subject you're writing as i felt can relate to it. Please update me when you decided to publish it. Thank-you.

25/05/2016

Siva

Hey wow could you give me some pointers on how to grow and also update me on your manuscript.

29/07/2016

Kiran Sidhu

Im dignosed by cancer some 2weeks back n was told d young leaves of cannabis r actually an anti oxidants that can beat d cancer cells... m actually looking at it for treatment purposes... any idea if its legal to.plant a plant for treatment purpose.. kindly emsil me...

05/10/2016

Heisenberg

it's okay to smoke as long as you do it privately and indoors or in less populated and less risky areas..
Rm50 can get you around 10g of weed( which is taken from the brick weed too)

Every 2g of weed cost about rm10 to put it in a simpler way.
have fun and enjoy your day..
remember to smoke up but also be safe..
Rm50 worth of weed won't do any harm as you can easily bribe yourself out from the cops.. and Rm50 worth of stuff is more than enough to get high..
Have fun!

05/03/2016

Afro

you da real mvp

10/04/2016

sangimangi

I have been smoking Marijuana on and off like 2 times a month since december last year from my home. i had diarrhea for a month due to work stress. Marijuana really helped me to overcome my anxiety and my stomach got better. The police raided my house and found only few buds of finished joint. They claimed it 3.0gram and i doubt its less than 0.1gram,. I'm charged under section 6 and they locked up for 5 days. Im bailed for RM2500 and i now awaits court case. They also charging me for urine which requires another court case. And they refuse to settle outside the balai.
While i was in the lock up, i met few young boys age between 20-26 caught for the same reason but i was informed by them that the police added their marijuana possession from 2.0Gram to 6Gram and they paid penalty between 1500-2000RM. I believe that the GOVT is trying to collect as much as money for election as we all aware the govt has no money to the country. . I rather smoke herbs than consuming those pharmaceutical drugs. So guys please be very careful smoking Marijuana

02/04/2017

Raja.Jr

Thanks sir. Good information from you sir...

12/04/2017

Raja.Jr

Cannabis used as a pain killer from ancient civilization... Malaysian should held further awareness activities about it. The coming one world concept will be legalize cannabis all over the world... anyhow nice article.

12/04/2017

liwan

sensiseeds send seed to malaysia?

26/11/2017

Olivier

Hi liwan, unfortunately we do not send seeds to Malaysia. Best, Olivier

08/12/2017

Steve

Has anyone brought a vape pen cartridge through customs/immigration at the Kuala Lumpur airport

06/02/2018

juju

Stupid malaysian laws , illegal because the police can make more money with this man. MOST STUPID EVER LAWS IS MALAYSIA! its just a plant from god to us that many benefit but the stupid malaysian police leader block it from legal.

01/05/2018

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Where |Malaysia

Capital |Kuala Lumpur

Inhabitants |31067000

Legal Status |illegal

Medical Program |no

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