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The Martha Stewart Defense?

Indonesian VP Sends Mixed Signals on Marijuana Use.

(7/2/2007) Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has adopted a "soft approach" on marijuana use, telling The Jakarta Post, "it's alright to use it as a food seasoning, but it should not be fully legalized,"

The Vice President's comments were apparently prompted by reports commissioned by Indonesian government agencies tasked with narcotics control that suggested a review of criminal penalties for the recreational use of marijuana.

The illicit weed is a popular additive in cooking in parts of the Indonesian island of Sumatra with one restaurateur commenting to the Jakarta Post, "marijuana is available in any Acehnese kitchen just like coriander. Marijuana is a widely-accepted cooking spice there."

A Word of Caution

The use and possession of marijuana and other narcotics remains against the law with harsh sanctions, including the death penalty, awaiting those caught using or dealing illicit drugs in Indonesia.

Currently, 3 Australians are on death row in Bali with 6 of their cohorts serving lengthy sentences for their roles in an effort to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin on board a flight leaving Bali for Australia.

Bali's most celebrated convicted drug smugglers is Queenslander Shapelle Corby who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after she was arrested with 4.2 kilograms of marijuana in her baggage upon arrival in Bali in October 2004.

Corby has steadfastly denied ownership of the illegal marijuana, claiming the contraband was unwittingly placed in her baggage during a flight changeover in Sydney.

Those hoping VP Kalla's public musing on marijuana might open a new legal front for Corby's defense will be frustrated by the Australian woman's adamant denial of ownership of the drugs found in her bag. Only by claiming knowledge of the drugs in her suitcase could Corby conceivably adopt a "Martha Stewart" defense; an argument that the 4.2 kilograms of marijuana were a key ingredient in tasty curries and stews.

On second thought, however, anyone seriously considering such a legal defense really needs to stop "smoking" in the kitchen.