Malaysia—which has some of the harshest punishments for drug possession anywhere in the world—plans to drop criminal penalties for the possession and use of drugs in small quantities, in an effort to battle addiction, AP reports. More than 1,200 prisoners are on death row in the country, with most of them convicted of drug crimes. Anyone found with as little as 200 grams of cannabis faces being charged with drug trafficking, which currently carries the death penalty. Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad announced the new plan Thursday, saying: “Drug decriminalization will indeed be a critical next step toward achieving a rational drug policy that puts science and public health before punishment and incarceration... An addict shall be treated as a patient, not as a criminal, whose addiction is a disease we would like to cure.” However, Dzulkefly stressed that the move mustn’t be mistaken as legalizing drugs, as trafficking will remain a crime.
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