Indonesian actor nabbed for marijuana possession slips in legalization argument during police press conference

Indonesian actor Jeff Smith speaking to the press on April 19 following his arrest for marijuana possession and use in West Jakarta. Photo: West Jakarta Police
Indonesian actor Jeff Smith speaking to the press on April 19 following his arrest for marijuana possession and use in West Jakarta. Photo: West Jakarta Police

Indonesian actor Jeff Smith has become a hero for marijuana advocates in the country thanks to his ballsy defense of the maligned narcotic plant in front of cops.

The 23-year-old actor, best known for starring in teen sinetron (Indonesian soap operas), was arrested by the West Jakarta Police on April 15 for possession and use of marijuana. Smith, who completed rehab for marijuana use in December 2020, confessed to consuming marijuana since he was in high school in order to help him sleep.

As is customary in high profile cases in Indonesia, Smith was made to appear in a police press conference where he was afforded the chance to speak to the public. That chance, incidentally, came on April 19 — a day before 420 — and he took the opportunity to advocate for marijuana.




From the 1:50 mark in the video above, Smith began with a cookie-cutter apology, saying, “First of all, I apologize extensively to my family and the people I love. I also want to apologize to all the people of Indonesia because I have been a bad example and I have done something that should not be emulated.”

“Furthermore, in my opinion, marijuana should not be categorized as a class I narcotic,” Smith added, before a cop pulled away the mic from him and whispered something to the actor while patting him on the back, presumably warning him not to step out of line.

The cop made the mistake of giving Smith another chance to speak, and the actor continued his defense of marijuana, saying, “As soon as possible, Indonesia should carry out research…” before the mic was switched off and the press conference came to an abrupt end.

Online, many have been praising Smith throughout the week for having the balls to stand up for what he believes in at the threat of great personal peril.

https://twitter.com/dimazizulfikri/status/1384835310505250820?s=20

Smith is facing up to four years in prison under the 2009 Law on Narcotics. Though lauded as heroic by many, his outburst at the press conference may hurt his chances for leniency at his trial.

Marijuana is categorized as a class I drug in Indonesia, which puts it in the company of heroin and cocaine. Though acceptance for the plant has been growing among the progressive few in recent years, there has not been any significant campaigns to decriminalize marijuana in Indonesia.

Also read — Drug decriminalization in Indonesia is not easy, but necessary

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