Stances on legalisation differ amongst genders, income groups and illnesses.
As Malaysia and Thailand race to become the first Asian country to legalise medical marijuana, new YouGov research finds that most Malaysians favour a change in the law.
The survey shows that four in ten (43%) Malaysians think that marijuana ought to be legalised for medicinal purposes, with men more likely to support legalisation than women (50% vs 36%).
YouGov data shows that one in seven (14%) Malaysians have been diagnosed with medical conditions that, according to WedMD, could potentially be treated by medical marijuana. The most common medical conditions amongst Malaysians surveyed are depression (6%), anxiety (5%), eating disorders (3%) and cancer (3%).
Those diagnosed with aforementioned conditions are more likely to support legalisation of medical marijuana, with half (49%) in favour.
Over half (57%) of Malaysians also believe marijuana has medicinal value, one in eight (12%) think it doesn’t. The remainder (32%) don’t know.
While many support legalisation for medical use, far fewer believe marijuana should be legalised for recreational use, with six in ten (60%) opposing it. Oppostion to recreational marijuana legaisation comes more from older Malaysians, with eight in ten (85%) of those over the age of 55 against it.
How does marijuana fare against other substances in the eyes of Malaysians? When presented with seven different addictive substances, Malaysians ranked heroin as the most harmful (42%), followed by LSD (26%). Marijuana is ranked in third place, and seen as more harmful (21%) than cocaine (17%) amongst Malaysians. Alcohol (12%) was viewed to be more harmful than tobacco (6%), and caffiene (3%) was ranked as the least.
Jake Gammon, Head of YouGov Omnibus in APAC commented: “The debate on medical marijuana is a hotly contested one, and it appears Malaysians remain divided on the issue. There are plenty of factors swaying one’s opinion on whether or not legalisation should take place; be it gender, income group or, most notably, whether a person suffers from an illness medical marijuana can potentially treat.”
**Results based on 1,012 Malaysians surveyed by YouGov Omnibus