Drugs. Indonesian police want to put an end to spicy marijuana dishes in Aceh

We need to ensure that people visiting the province during the National Games (PON) feel confident eating our traditional food,” declared to Kompas Director of the Aceh Narcotics Brigade, General Marzuki Ali Basyah, adding: “We want to combat the misconception that Acehnese food is (systematically) seasoned with marijuana.”


The authorities of this province of Sumatra, the only one in Indonesia to apply Sharia law since 2002, want to ensure that the thousands of athletes who will participate in this competition in September will not risk testing positive during a test. anti-doping after unknowingly consuming an illegal substance.

Marzuki cites the example of the recent arrest of a man who tested positive for marijuana during a drug raid. Investigators later discovered that he had unknowingly consumed food containing this “spicy” a little special while dining in a traditional restaurant in the province.

Well-established tradition

As the daily explains, the inhabitants of Aceh do not consider cannabis to be a drug but a spice, or even a medicinal plant. Its benefits are mentioned in several ancient works, such as “the book of Tajul muluk where marijuana is mentioned as a heritage of the 18th century Aceh sultanatee century”. Cannabis use is so common in Aceh that residents grow it in their gardens.

Yet Indonesia’s narcotics law, one of the strictest in the world, classifies cannabis as a type 1 drug along with 65 other drugs, including opium, cocaine and methamphetamine. Their consumption and production can result in heavy prison sentences or even the death penalty.

The Jakarta government began cracking down on the practice in Aceh in the 1970s as part of its war on drugs. Even today, the authorities incinerate marijuana fields. But the tradition resists, so much so that in 2020 the provincial government wanted to legalize the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

Contacted by Kompas, Iskandar Tungang, a lecturer at the Indonesian Institute of Arts and Culture in Aceh, believes that the raids on restaurants to be carried out by the narcotics squad “will only reinforce prejudice against Aceh’s unique culinary delights”.

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