SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka may partly legalize Marijuana after a minister told a weekend national paper that he will introduce a bill in parliament to lift the ban on the substance. Minister of Indigenous medicine Salinda Dissanayake told the Sunday Leader last week Marijuana (cannabis) can be used for medicinal purposes and hence the ban on the substance should be lifted.
The comments come fresh on the heels of a decision by Uruguay to legalize the substance from 2014. On 10th December the South American country’s senate approved a law that both legalized Marijuana and regulated its production and sale. The US states of Colarado and Washington also voted to legalize Marijuana in 2012 with the states adopting a tax-and-control policy instead of the complete prohibition. Experts say that complete prohibition under the so called ‘drug war’ all but failed with the public opinion in the U.S. moving more towards favoring legalization.
It is currently a crime to engage any activity related to Marijuana in Sri Lanka although the substance has been used for Ayurvedic Medicine. Fresh marijuana fried in ghee is used in a number of different traditional medicines for treating a wide variety of ailments according to experts. Given the popularity of Ayurvedic medicine in the country, the government faces the curious conundrum of growing state-sponsored Marijuana one the one hand whilst destroying privately-owned illegal crops on the other. The practice, among other issues, breeds corruption as the law enforcement agencies apply selective enforcement of the law depending on kickbacks from weed growers.