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Religious leaders oppose bid to legalize cannabis in Sri Lanka

Politician and indigenous doctors argue that cannabis can be effective against Covid-19 infections

UCA News reporter, Colombo

UCA News reporter, Colombo

Published: September 01, 2021 10:21 AM GMT

Updated: September 01, 2021 03:34 PM GMT

Religious leaders oppose bid to legalize cannabis in Sri Lanka
A Sri Lankan navy sailor uses a makeshift decontamination chamber after the seizure of narcotics from a cargo carrier near Colombo on April 1, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

A politician and indigenous doctors have urged the Sri Lankan government to legalize cannabis and its production for self-immunization amid protests by religious leaders.

“Legalize cannabis with regulations for adult use. It is an important and revolutionary decision to be taken for the betterment of the people of this country as well as for the promotion of indigenous medicines,” said Thusitha Balasuriya, secretary of the Social Democratic Party.

He claimed that local and foreign researchers have shown in their studies that cannabis’ active compounds can be used to treat coronavirus infection and pneumonia. “Drugs such as cannabis can be combined with new knowledge and technology in the world to control the pandemic,” he said.

Balasuriya said cannabis is used around the world to boost immunity but the citizens of Sri Lanka are not allowed to use it even though it is an indigenous medicine.

Cultivation of the cannabis plant is banned in Sri Lanka except for use as traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Locals claim that it can be used to relieve symptoms such as anorexia, which is commonly reported among coronavirus patients.

Some indigenous doctors have even sought permission from the Sri Lankan government to cultivate cannabis but religious leaders are against any move to legalize the cultivation and use of cannabis in the country.

About 40,000 people die every year in Sri Lanka due to causes like drug abuse, alcoholism and tobacco consumption

Ven. Ittapana Dhammalankara Thera, the chief prelate of Kotte Sri Kalayani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha of Siyam Maha Nikaya, has said that the government should take immediate action to stop all promotions related to the production of cannabis and its abuse.

The country’s Catholics, including the archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, have organized several protest marches and rallies against the increased abuse of illegal drugs in the island nation.

In April 2019, the prelate also issued a pastoral letter urging all parishes and church institutions to denounce drug peddling.

A Catholic priest who wanted to remain anonymous said there may be some ulterior motives in the case of businessmen and drug addicts but the government can find the real truth behind the demand.

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He said if the drug was of any help to corona-affected people, the government must pay due attention. But there should be a definite plan to implement it and keep away future generations of the country from drug abuse, he added.

About 40,000 people die every year in Sri Lanka due to causes like drug abuse, alcoholism and tobacco consumption.

1 Comments on this Story
CEDRIC FERNANDO
Sri Lanka has enough and more illegal activities and this is one more. I have a friend growing this in Uruguay leagally which he sells to pharmaceutical companies. Sri Lanka needs to come out of its anyiquated ideologies and join the real world like the ministets who rob the country dry!!! Time for a new system! Use the internet to have daily referendums... new democracy

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