Sri Lanka plans to legalize Cannabis cultivation, and is exploring the possibility of exporting the herb, reports Sri Lanka Guardian.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, delivering his 2023 budget speech, said he will appoint experts to explore the possibility of cultivating marijuana in Sri Lanka. The government will only allow Cannabis cultivation for export purposes, he emphasized, reports News 1st.
“The possibilities of producing Triloka Wijayapathra purely for the purpose of exports will be examined for which an expert committee will also be set up,” he told parliament.
Triloka Wijayapathra is the Sanskrit name for Cannabis, reports Economy Next.
Used For Centuries
Cannabis is part of South Asian culture, and has been for centuries. Planet-wide prohibition, under the Single Treaty on Narcotics, was unsuccessful in eradicating the practice. Sri Lankans use it for cooking and medicinal purposes as well as for recreation.
Diana Gamage, Sri Lanka’s State Minister for Tourism has been promoting Cannabis cultivation for export purposes. Former Health Minister Rajith Senaratne also backed the growing of marijuana for export.
The 1925 Geneva International Convention on Narcotics Control included marijuana. The treaty bans Cannabis despite the government of India having opposed its inclusion. People have used Cannabis since time immemorial, officials pointed out. The government rightly questioned the practicality of enforcing marijuana prohibition.
Medical Use Tolerated In Sri Lanka
Many countries have decriminalized marijuana. But it is still illegal for recreational use in South Asia.
However, medicinal use is acceptable, Minister for Indigenous medicine Sisira Jayakody said in October, reports The Statesman.
“Cannabis comes under the Ayurveda (Indigenous Medicine) Act,” Minister Jayakody told reporters. “It is a subject coming under the Department of Ayurveda.
“We have to handle this with discipline,” Jayakody said. ”We cannot allow it to be used for recreational purposes. But we can use cannabis and cannabis extracts for medicinal purposes.
“There is a large export demand also,” he added.