Govt. to encourage exporting of cannabis
Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratnethe says the government of Sri Lanka intends to set aside a 100-acre property in Ingiriya, which is 60 km away from Colombo, for the cultivation of cannabis to supplement the indigenous medicinal industry and for export to the US.
This plantation will be the country’s first authorised cannabis farm and is expected to fall under the guard of the Sri Lankan security force.
The minister further stated that the plantation is expected to yield 25 metric tonnes of high quality cannabis per annum.
He further stated that there was a dearth in the availability of quality cannabis for ayurvedic medicinal purposes, with ayurvedic doctors complaining of the difficulty in securing a high quality grade of this product which is an essential component of indigenous medicines.
He pointed out that at present the ayurvedic community had to rely on smuggled or illegally harvested cannabis that had been seized by Courts, but due to their extended period of storage in evidence had deteriorated in quality.
“By the time our native doctors get this cannabis, it is about four to five years old and it has lost its effectiveness”” he said.
Senaratne informed that the surplus harvest would then be exported, adding that he had been told that, “…there is a high demand in the US and several other countries. Cannabis is used by the pharmaceutical industry in the manufacture of tranquilisers and painkillers.”
Use and possession of cannabis in Sri Lanka is a punishable offence despite it being illegally harvested in the country.
Cannabis harvesting is a lucrative illegal enterprise in Sri Lanka, but with the government now promoting a legal method of distributing the product, it will enable bold and innovative investors to put forward proposals to form a collective farming unit of these illegal growers and provide them with a legal business enterprise.
As mentioned by Senaratne, the market for cannabis is on the rise in the US and other countries and it will provide legitimate business for a previously illicit enterprise.
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