KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's government plans to drop criminal penalties for the possession and use of drugs in small quantities as a way to battle addiction but stresses it's not legalizing drugs.
Malaysia harshly penalizes drug possession. Anyone found with 200 grams of cannabis, 40 grams of cocaine, and 15 grams of heroin or morphine face being charged with drug trafficking, which carries the death penalty.
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said in a statement Thursday that the proposal for the "decriminalization of drug addicts and addiction" will be a significant game changer.
He said addicted people will be treated as patients, not criminals. He said drug addiction is a complex, relapsing medical condition and throwing an addicted drug user into jail will not cure them.