Group Fights For Cannabis Reform In Indonesia


Photo: LGN
Our brothers and sisters in Indonesia are already in the street. Why stand we here idle?

Indonesia has some tough marijuana laws. In fact, having just a joint can get you up to four years in prison in this Southeast Asian island nation. But one brave and committed group of cannabis activists is leading the way towards legalization and regulation of the herb in Indonesia.

The group, Lingkar Ganja Nusantara (LGN), which means “Circle of Ganja Archipelago” in English, is raising consciousness on the cannabis issue in Indonesia, distributing information on the many uses and benefits of the plant.

Thanks to activist Soraya Cassandra of the LGN Education team, who was kind enough to provide Toke of the Town an update on the activities of the pro-cannabis group, which recently opened an office. ~ Steve Elliott

By Soraya Cassandra
LGN Education Team

Facebook has once again played a role in sparking a movement of liberty, this time in Indonesia. The movement calls for the emancipation of a plant that has been discredited, disgraced and criminalized under a prohibition based on inaccurate, fallacious assumptions — a plant by the name of cannabis.
It all started when a group of cannabis enthusiasts decided to create a group on Facebook called Dukung Legalisasi Ganja (DLG; Support Cannabis Legalization) in the early months of 2008. By 2011, the group had grown to 42,000 followers before being banned by an “unknown party” later that same year. With that many followers, it was unmistakable that DLG had touched upon an issue close to the hearts of many Indonesians.

Photo: LGN
Indonesian activists took part in the Global Marijuana March in 2010

​In May 2010, DLG held a peaceful rally and distributed leaflets containing objective information on cannabis at the heart Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, at Bundaran Hotel Indonesia. The rally was held to commemorate the Global Marijuana March, marked each year on the first Saturday in May.
The rally not only helped attract the spotlight to the issue of cannabis in Indonesia; it also helped to unite local cannabis activists. With this growing momentum, along with the fact that the DLG Facebook group was gone and no proper organization had been created to sustain the cannabis movement, the fight for legalization continued in the only possible direction that it could.
Under Indonesia’s Constitution, Article 35, Year 2009, on Narcotics, cannabis is classified as Narcotics 1 alongside opium, heroin, and cocaine. The only clearance granted for drugs in this classification is the use of limited amounts for the purpose of scientific and technological development and for diagnostic and laboratory uses when permission is granted by the Ministry as recommended by the Head of the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency.

Photo: LGN
Dhira Narayana, head of Indonesian cannabis legalization group LGN, gives a speech on World Anti-Drugs Day, June 26, 2010: “We are the talking cannabis plant”

​Establishing a research foundation was the only platform available for cannabis activists, hence a Cannabis Research Foundation (Yayasan Lembaga Penelitian Tanaman Ganja) was created, which now goes by the name Lingkar Ganja Nusantera (LGN). As a research foundation, LGN is a legal entity and is protected by Indonesian law.
The idea behind the name Lingkar Ganja Nusantera, which means “Circle of Ganja Archipelago” in English, is that it shows the fundamental nature and vision of the foundation. Lingkar or circle is used to illustrate the culture of cannabis consumption, where aficionados form a circle and pass their “spliffs” around, sharing the plant’s euphoric calmness. Nusantera or archipelago represents the end goal of LGN, when cannabis becomes properly regulated to create a better life for all Indonesians who live on the 17,000 islands that make up the nation.
LGN raises the issue of cannabis from Indonesia’s social, cultural, medical, and political aspects. The foundation aims to make cannabis a plant that can be widely utilized for the lives of Indonesian citizens and mankind as a whole. LGN will address this goal by conducting research on cannabis in Indonesia, educating for more awareness around the issue, advocating and defending basic human rights pertaining to cannabis use, and developing a community which cares about and cherishes the benefits of cannabis.
“We are the talking cannabis plant,” said Dhira Narayana, the head of LGN. “If cannabis can speak, it would declare to everyone what we are attempting to convey. Unfortunately, the plant can’t speak. This is why it has exposed to us all its intrinsic values in hopes that we humans can help reveal its truth to the world.”

Photo: LGN
At the grand opening ceremony for its new offices on April 23, LGN released a group of red, green and yellow balloons holding a banner that says (LGN’s website)

​LGN launched its green office on April 23 at Pulau Situ Gintung, a scenic location in Tangerang surrounded by lush greenery and nature’s serenity. Here, LGN formally introduced itself to the wider community and provided the chance for attendees to share their opinions, inputs and arguments towards the issue of cannabis.
At the end of the grand opening, LGN released a group of red, green and yellow balloons holding a banner that says (LGN’s website) into the air. This act symbolizes how LGN will continue to spread and socialize objective information on cannabis for all Indonesians across the archipelago.
The launching also celebrated the legendary 420 Weed Day, marked each April 20.
The next step for LGN is to conduct research and participate in the worldwide Global Marijuana March on May 7. LGN currently has two research proposals underway, the first with the Faculty of
Psychology, Universitas Indonesia, and the second with Rumah Sakit Cipto Mangunkusumo (a hospital) and the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia.

Photo: LGN
One of the main functions of LGN is educating people on the facts about, and benefits of, cannabis

​As for the upcoming Global Marijuana March, LGN plans to hold a peaceful rally to increase awareness on the issue and distribute reliable, scientific information about the wrongly victimized plant to the people of Jakarta.
Having only been established for a year, LGN has already accomplished many stepping stones. A legal entity has been attained, an office is ready for use, a website is up and running, a mark has been made across communities and in various media, and most importantly, ambitious, passionate, and devoted individuals have gathered as a group to fight for the truth.
There is no doubt that LGN will be bruised along its way to cannabis legalization, but the muscle and wits behind the foundation are bold and strong-willed.
For a plant that serves as the inner bliss of the human spiritual enlightenment, for a plant that offers the perfect remedy for the most unbearable of illnesses, for a plant that presents itself as nature’s offer towards an industrious endeavor, and for a plant with its inestimable worth for all of mankind… LGN will one day liberate cannabis from today’s senseless suppression.

Photo: LGN
“Remove cannabis from the class of drugs!”

Photo: LGN
Some of the founders and participants of LGN

Photo: LGN
LGN member educates an Indonesian policeman about cannabis

Photo: LGN
LGN holds educational events such as this discussion about cannabis