A man has been sentenced to death in Malaysia for processing cannabis oil and distributing it to patients in need.

On 30 August, the Shah Alam High Court sentenced Muhammad Lukman to death by hanging, after he was convicted of possessing, processing, and distributing cannabis oil. Three litres of cannabis oil and 279 grams of compressed cannabis were found in his home, according to local sources.

Lukman, a 29-year-old father of one, provided cannabis oil to patients who were suffering from ailments that were difficult to treat with legal medicines. Lukman did not profit from this, and would provide cannabis oil for free to patients who could not afford it. Despite the lack of financial gain from his endeavour, his offences fall under section 39B of Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act 1952. This stipulates that “Any person who [traffics an illegal drug] shall be guilty of an offence against this Act and shall be punished on conviction with death”.

Lukman’s defence team called upon patients who had successfully used his cannabis oil to treat their illnesses, and emphasised that he produced and provided the medicine on a non-profit basis for their wellbeing. The prosecution argued that, regardless of intent or revenue, Lukman produced and distributed an illegal drug that is not recognised for its medical uses by the Ministry of Health or any accredited Malaysian physician. This lack of recognition, the judge concluded, invalidated Lukman’s defence.

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