Gold Coast Bulletin, Edition B - SAT 09 JUN 2007 By: by Tony Wilson chief police reporter
GOVERNMENT agencies are considering the legalisation of marijuana in Indonesia which offers a faint, but real glimmer of hope for Schapelle Corby.
Both the National Narcotics Agency and the Indonesian National Institute for Drug Abuse have made public their consideration in the matter, saying that legalising the drug could make use of its benefits.
National Narcotics Agency drug expert Tomi Harjatno was quoted in the English speaking Jakarta Post this week as saying that `all this time we only emphasise the bad effects of marijuana'. "But people in Aceh ( a province on the island of Sumatra) are using marijuana in their food recipes," he said.
Schapelle Corby's lawyer Erwin Siregar told The Gold Coast Bulletin yesterday that it was well known that marijuana formed part of the diet in Aceh.
"I am from Sumatra and that has been the case for quite a while," he said.
He said the fact that government agencies were talking about cannabis legalisation could only help Ms Corby.
Mr Harjatno, who is also research and development director at the Indonesian National Institute, told a seminar that the effects of marijuana were not as bad as perceived by the public.
"The leaves can have a hallucinogenic effect but they do not cause big negative effects," he said. "Some countries, such as the Netherlands, have also legalised marijuana to be smoked in cafes and coffee shops.
He said the two agencies he was involved with would recommend that the Indonesian Government reformulate their policy on marijuana.
Mr Siregar said the statements from these two influential agencies had been widely covered in the Indonesian media.
"I hope the three judges who are doing Corby's judicial review have seen them, even the fact the legalisation is being openly discussed could help get a sentence reduction for her," he said.
Mr Siregar said he was going to Jakarta next week on Bali Nine business and would see the judges involved in the judicial review.
"I will be making sure they have seen the reports of the legalisation when I get there," he said.
Chief Police Reporter
Gold Coast Publications Pty Ltd