Amiruddin Nadarajan Abdullah is a 62-year-old man who is facing a possible death sentence for selling chocolate bars and brownies made with hemp seed oil. Amiruddin, affectionately known as Dr Ganja, used the hemp seed oil for medicinal purposes. But, Malaysia’s strict laws against marijuana has landed him in hot water.
The Malaysian grandfather isn’t completely alone however. Cannabis activists and Princess Tengku Chanela Jamidah are working together to free him. They also hope to change the Malaysian mentality regarding cannabis for medicinal use.
Amiruddin, who served in the Malaysian army for 22 years, is now a grandfather of five. However, in the late 1990s, he was plagued with a series of health issues including cancer. Desperate for alternative treatments, he discovered medical cannabis, more specifically hemp seed oil. Amazed at the medical benefits it brought him, he started inviting others like him to his village home in the Klang district. He became a strong advocate for the legalisation and decriminalization of medical marijuana and was gifted the name “Dr. G”. In 2017, he was arrested under Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) with 36 offenses.
A documentary of his story, seen through his daughter Siti’s eyes was made in 2020. “He isn’t a drug dealer or some drug lord,” Siti stated, firmly siding with her father. “As long as I’m able, I will be devoted, and I want him to be free.” Recently, this film was screened in Hollywood, California to illuminate Dr. G’s struggles. The event, meant to be a fundraiser, was created by Princess Jamidah. “I have a vision that the people of Malaysia will accept cannabis as an inherent human right,” she said. “The decision is as simple as access to healthcare.” Jamidah is a Malaysian, Filipino and American who has been involved in the entertainment, fashion and beauty industry for 15 years. She uses her platform to advocate for the legalisation of cannabis. Jamidah is also an official Patron for the Malaysian cannabis advocacy group MASA and is a Higher up of the Hivi community.
Princess Jamidah is working with Jay Jackson (aka Laganja Estranja) and the Last Prisoner Project to dedicate resources to Dr. G’s appeal and potential release. Jackson, known for appearing on “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, hopes to shift people’s perspectives and make plant medicine accessible for those outside California. “I think the first step though starts with educating yourself, which is exactly what happened at Jamidah’s fundraiser,” she said. Mary Bailey, Managing Director of Last Prisoner Project shares that their vision is “freedom for every last cannabis prisoner around the globe“. “We thought that this was a great opportunity to use our platform to bring awareness to the injustice of Dr. G’s case,” Baily said.
Although the Malaysian princess knows she’s facing a long and arduous fight, she’s determined to see it all the way through. Princess Jamidah first discovered Dr. G when she began her foray into cannabis in 2019. Upon hearing his story, she was compelled to support him in her capacity. Since then, she’s researched and read up on the history of cannabis in Malaysia. She truly believes it is possible for Malaysia to legalise medicinal cannabis. “What is needed now is for a new bill to be passed in parliament to amend the DDA and remove cannabis as a dangerous drug,” she said. “The right strategy would be to engage with the government by providing them with enough facts, data and information so they are persuaded that it is necessary to amend the DDA as it benefits the Malaysian society and its people.
According to Princess Jamidah, herbal healing methods were already being practiced and embedded in the Malaysian society even before DDA was enacted. “In fact,” she added. “It was recorded in the Kitab Tib, A Malay medical manuscript that was translated to English in 1886 that Indian Hemp was used to treat various illnesses as far back as the 1800s.” Princess Jamidah hopes to create a “pathway for discussion and intelligent dialogue with faith leaders and medical professionals” via her Halal Hemp initiative.
Her journey has not been smooth as she faces opposition from both within and outside the country. However, she believes her fight is worth the risks, especially for those who could benefit from the drug. “Until I return to Malaysia I do not know what I am faced with, but whilst I am here in the US, safe and within legal bounds, I will continue fighting for those that do not have the same privilege,” the Malaysian princess stated. She promised to continue pursuing freedom for Dr. G as they believe in the same truths.
According to Princess Jamidah, Dr. G’s daughter will be collecting donations until next year. All proceeds from the Crowdfunding campaign will be going directly to his case appeal for release. Not all hope is lost, in February this year (2021), Muhammad Lukman (30) appealed and was freed from a death sentence for trafficking medicinal cannabis.
Princess Jamidah is firm in her belief that Malaysia will achieve a regulated medical industry someday. “I believe this will be Malaysia’s salvation,” she added. The princess stated that it can create jobs, free prisoners and be a roadmap for economic recovery. Above all, it gives us the opportunity to save lives. “That is the greatest gift of humanity and I have faith in my Malaysia,” she said.