Legalising marijuana could reduce number of prisoners, says minister

(FMT) – De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong says the government may look at decriminalising the use of marijuana and morphine to reduce the number of inmates in prison which, in turn, would cut the cost of maintaining them.

He said the government currently spends RM2 million a day looking after 65,222 prisoners nationwide.

If the use of drugs such as marijuana and morphine could be legalised for medicinal purposes, he added, the number of prisoners could be reduced.

He gave the example of 29-year-old Muhammad Lukman, who was sentenced to death for possessing, processing and distributing medical marijuana or cannabis oil.

He added that he had been told that methamphetamine was now the easiest drug to procure.

“When I brought up the issue of heroin, morphine, marijuana and cocaine, the prison officers laughed at me. They say that is the old trend.

“The trend is now methamphetamine, synthetic drugs,” he said when wrapping up his debate in the Dewan Rakyat today.

According to data from the Prison Department, he said, maintenance of amenities and items such as soap and clothes for prisoners costs between RM38 and RM41 a day.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar previously said the Cabinet had “very briefly” discussed the medicinal value of marijuana and had started early and informal talks on amending the relevant laws.