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Cannabis Campaigners Write to Malaysia Over Death Penalties

Members of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance and The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies have joined together to put pressure on the Government of Malaysia to reverse the confirmation of death by hanging recently given to four people convicted of cannabis offences in that country.

legalise cannabis alliance uk lcaBoth organisations as well as individual members have been busy writing letters to the Prime Minister of Malaysia [1] as well as the Malaysian press, and their action has caught on and is being joined by groups worldwide in particular through the Facebook causes “THE WORLD DEMANDS THE RELEASE OF LIM KOK YONG.” [4]and “World Against Cannabis Prohibition.” [5]

Alun Buffry from the LCA said: “It is bad enough that 21st Century countries are still using the death penalty to little of no effect, but that it is given to people for growing or supplying a PLANT is appalling. [6]

“The very vast majority of people who use cannabis do so to their benefit and it is an indisputable fact that the plant could benefit the people, the climate and the economy of vast numbers of people it fully utilised.

“The death penalty fails to deter those that seek profit from the plant in a world that pushes everyone towards making money – few of those that dabble in cannabis think they will be caught, and there are many more lining up to replace them.

“It is the profit motivation, devoid of control or taxation, that is enabled by prohibition itself, which leaves the cultivation and supply totally outside of the influence of the law.

“And in these cases the weights involved are less than sold weekly through any one of hundreds of coffeeshops in Holland every week.

“I call upon all courts throughout the world to stop prosecuting people for cannabis offences in the absence of victims, and call upon the Government of Malaysia to put an immediate halt to these hangings.”

It is estimated that there are at least 4 million regular consumers of cannabis in the UK, and the World Health Organisation has said that they estimate at least 500,000 million worldwide.

In 1988, after an extensive study of the medical value and dangers of cannabis, DEA Administrative Judge Francis Young said: “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating ten raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest Therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.” [7]

Notes for Editors

1
Letter sent by LCA to Prime Minister of Malaysia:
Dear Prime Minister, 10^th October 2009

As part of a European coalition of NGO’s and individuals concerned with the global drug issue, we would like to inform you herewith of our deepest concerns about the confirmation of several death sentences in your country recently.

On August 27, Khairul Idzham was sentenced to death for trafficking 4,3 kilos of cannabis five years ago.

On September 2, Lim Kok Yong, 35 years old, was sentenced to be hanged until death after finding him guilty of trafficking 625.7 grammes of cannabis, five years ago.

On September 4, Khalil Anuar Sukirman, 25 years old, was sentenced to death after he was found guilty of trafficking over 1kg of cannabis three years ago.

On September 30, Indonesian Nasir Ibrahim, 31 years old, was given the death sentence after he was found guilty of trafficking 868gm cannabis more than five years ago.

The use of the death penalty as such runs counter to the universal protection of human rights and is at odds with the international trend away from the use of this measure. Very few countries currently carry out executions: provisional figures compiled by Amnesty International indicate that only 20 of the United Nation’s 193 member states carried out state killings in 2006. In countries such as South Korea and Taiwan, authorities are considering to abolish this measure. We hope that this will soon be the case in Malaysia as well.

However, in these particular cases, we believe there is no valid argument whatsoever to carry out this punishment, and urge you to do whatever is possible to reverse the sentence.

We are aware of the argument of your government for maintaining the death penalty for drug traffickers, because drugs cause misery in Malaysian society. To this we would like to say that in spite of executions of drug traffickers in Malaysia, the country is not and will never be drug-free. Many people in Malaysia want to consume cannabis and other drugs, so it is obvious that other people will supply them. Taking the life of people will not change that situation.

Drugs trafficking is the core business of globally organised criminal organisations. The traffickers who are occasionally caught by authorities with relatively small amounts do not have major responsibilities in this business. Killing them will not scare the drugs gangs away. On the contrary, it is possible that thanks to these punishments, the drugs barons can continue to justify extraordinary high prices for their goods.

On the other hand, cannabis is a natural product, a non-lethal substance. Its consumption is widespread around the world, as it has been for thousands of years among many different cultures and people. In most European countries, cannabis possession for personal consumption is not even penalised any more. In the coming years, we expect major law changes that will allow for the cultivation and distribution of cannabis to adults in several European countries.

The Legalise Cannabis Alliance strongly believes that the drugs problem can only be reduced by effective social and health policies, not by legal sanctions. Innovative strategies for addressing the issue both globally and locally are needed, and the harsh implementation of drug prohibition is a major impediment to thee introduction of these strategies. The reinforcement of policies that have failed until now will increase the lack of credibility of authorities in the opinion of the general public.

We call upon your wisdom to apply principles of sound governance and reverse the death sentence for the people mentioned above. If you believe that Malaysia needs to execute drug traffickers to please the international community, this is a huge mistake. We offer you our co-operation in order to convince European governments to support Malaysia in the creation of structures which would allow for the reduction of harm that the production, trade and consumption of illicit drugs can cause.

Sincerely yours,

On behalf of The Legalise Cannabis Alliance

2.
The Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA) is a UK pressure group campaigning for the legalisation and utilisation of cannabis
http://www.lca-uk.org/

3.
The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies (ENCOD) is a European network of organisations and individual citizens affected and concerned by current drug policies.and the European section of an international coalition of more than 200 organisations from around the world, that have subscribed the Manifesto for just and effective drug policies (that was founded in 1998).

Manifesto for just and effective drug policies http://www.encod.org/info/MANIFESTO-FOR-JUST-AND-EFFECTIVE.html

4.
Recent history of sentences of death given for cannabis:
http://www.ccguide.org/deathpenalty.php

5.

THE WORLD DEMANDS THE RELEASE OF LIM KOK YONG.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=162089857624

6.
WORLD AGAINST CANNABIS PROHIBITION
http://apps.facebook.com/causes/326035

7
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Drug Enforcement Administration
In The Matter Of MARIJUANA RESCHEDULING PETITION
Docket No. 86-22
OPINION AND RECOMMENDED RULING, FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DECISION OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE FRANCIS L. YOUNG, Administrative Law Judge
DATED: SEPTEMBER 6, 1988
http://www.druglibrary.org/olsen/medical/young/young.html

The Legalise Cannabis Alliance
PO Box 2883
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 9EE

Source: Legalise Cannabis Alliance

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