Febriyani, Jakarta – Coinciding with the commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26, a mother and her daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy, held a peaceful action on Car Free Day (CFD) at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta this morning.
The mother, whose name is Santi Wirastuti from Sleman regency in Yogyakarta, Central Java, stood tall and full of spirit carrying a placard with a white background and the message, "Please, My Child Needs Medical Marijuana".
Along with Wirastuti was a little girl sitting in a stroller with her head supported by a pillow and length of cloth. Her name is Pika Sasikirana.
When she was younger, the cute little girl contracted Japanese encephalitis, an infectious condition which can cause swelling of the brain. Wirastuti said her daughter's illness began around the age she was to enter kindergarten.
Initially, the symptoms that Pika suffered disappeared after one or two days. Bit by bit however, Pika's motor functions began to deteriorate and her body became weaker.
She said that Pika often vomited and was dizzy at school. Since 2015 until now, Pika has had to take medication for epilepsy. Wirastuti said she felt like she had found a glimmer of light when she heard that epilepsy can be treated with marijuana.
"I heard many reports from outside [Indonesia] that marijuana can reduce [the symptoms] and even some from outside that said they had [achieved] zero epilepsy. But we can't do that here, right, it's not legal yet. So I appealed to the MK [Constitutional Court] to immediately give use some certainty", said Wirastuti.
Because of this, during the peaceful action today Wirastuti brought the letter of appeal which she submitted to the Constitutional Court back in 2020 asking for an immediate ruling on her appeal.
In 2020, Wirastuti and two other mothers – Dwi Pertiwi and Novi, asked the Constitutional Court to annul the stipulations in the Narcotics Law which prohibit the use of marijuana for the treatment of their children who suffer brain disorders.
The stipulations they were referring to in the Narcotics Law are Article 6 Paragraph 1H and Article 8 Paragraph 1. To this day however, the Constitutional Court has failed to rule on the appeal.
Wirastuti's determination to fight for the legalisation of marijuana for medical use became even stronger when one of the other two mothers – Dwi Pertiwi – had to face the bitter reality of the struggle.
After 16 years of fighting, Pertiwi's beloved child Musa, who was also suffering from cerebral palsy, died on December 26, 2020, in the middle of a hearing at the Constitutional Court.
It was for this that Wirastuti held the peaceful action today, by walking on from Jalan Sudirman to the Constitutional Court together with her husband and beloved child.
Wirastuti also wanted to articulate the other meaning that she and her small family were feeling on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – that today is a day of hope, but also waiting.
Wirastuti hopes that her appeal for the legalisation of marijuana for medical use will be quickly followed up so Pika and other children suffering from similar illnesses can enjoy a better quality of life and one which is more comfortable.
Unfortunately, when they arrived at the Constitutional Court building in Central Jakarta, there were no representatives from the court to meet with them. And security personnel were reportedly reluctant to accept the letter and poster which Wirastuti had prepared.
For the readers of Yogya.co, this is the contents of the letter which Wirastuti wanted to give to the Constitutional Court justices:
Noble MK judges,
Please take up my concerns and fears. Every day I imagine one by one my child's friends who are gone. Each time my child sleeps, I watch her chest. Is it still rising and falling? Is she still breathing? Not to mention when the convulsions appear...
My mind stops working, who knows where my thoughts go. And I must use all my strength just keep my sanity. Tears have been shed... I have send my prayers up to heaven.
Now another effort, I am also trying. Don't just leave me waiting... two years have passed and my appeal for medical marijuana for my child has still not been confirmed. Give me reassurance. Give us reassurance...
Me and Pika
June 26, 2022.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Perjuangan Ibu, Santi Gelar Aksi Permohonan Legalisasi Ganja Medis".]