Parliament Committee appointed to legalize Cannabis | Daily News

Parliament Committee appointed to legalize Cannabis

A Parliamentary Committee has been established under the direction of President Ranil Wickremesinghe to legalize Cannabis as an export product and the first official meeting of the committee was held at the Parliament Complex yesterday.

The high powered Committee includes Minister of Justice, Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksa, Minister of Plantation, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella, State Tourism Minister, Diana Gamage, State Minister of Indigenous Medicine Sisira Jayakody, President Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs, Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, Secretary of Defence Ministry, General Kamal Gunaratne, Secretary of Health Ministry, S. J. S. Chandragupta, Coordinating Secretary of State Tourism Ministry, Dr. Arosha Fernando and the Senior Officers from Health Ministry, Finance Ministry and the Board Of Investment (BOI).

It is expected the Committee will meet up fortnightly to make the necessary recommendations to the Parliament at the earliest possible. As of now, cultivation of Cannabis is banned except for use in indigenous medicine, and that too, under strict State control.

“Dollar-starved Sri Lanka is poised to shed an entrenched inhibition about allowing the commercial cultivation of medical cannabis,” said State Tourism Minister, Diana Gamage who first proposed this initiative. The export community and the Chambers hailed the move by the government to bring in a bill to legalize the export of medical cannabis as it has been identified as a key foreign revenue generator.

Gamage at a TV talk show on Monday said that growing and exporting Cannabis is nothing new as over 30 countries grow and export it for various purposes. “With systematic growing of Cannabis Sri Lanka can expect over USD 2.5 million incomes per year,” she said.

China is the world leader in this segment with a revenue of USD1.4 billion (39.5% of exported cannabis oils) while India exports were to the annual value of USD$ 392.2 million.

Some of the other leading exporters of Cannabis are the United States (USD287 million) , Spain USD 238.1 million, Germany USD 233.7 million) and Italy USD 126.4 million).

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